The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the proposal for the Great Falls Freedom Memorial on Monday, May 10. Now that the project has formal county approval, fund-raising efforts for the Freedom Memorial will intensify.
Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois said she voted for the memorial because citizens were overwhelmingly in favor of it and because it’s the type of monument that is fitting to the town.
“Honestly, I only got one letter against it,” said DuBois. “I’ve had some people say they don’t understand what it’s for, but what brought it home for me was [the text of the letter explaining the intent of the memorial],” said DuBois.
Michael Kearney and the Old Brogue Charities have been the driving force behind the Freedom Memorial since its inception on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Six Great Falls residents lost their lives that day. Those residents are being memorialized as a part of the memorial.
Included in the memorial are six benches and six ornamental trees that stand as testament to the six Great Falls citizens who died that day. The overarching theme of the Freedom Memorial, however, has evolved over the last year to encompass all those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. This includes not only soldiers but also police and fire personnel as well.
“There are a number of small towns all over this country that have plazas and town squares with memorials like this. It’s a great thing for Great Falls to be able to have. Architecturally they did a great job on it. All of the recommendations by residents have been taken, to the best of my knowledge,” said DuBois.
“It will be nice for them to have an approval behind them as they go forward to raise the money,” said DuBois.
According to Kearney, they are halfway towards their goal. “We’ve raised over $40,000 and we need to raise another. In the five months we’ve been doing this we are over 50 percent,” said Kearney. “Now that we have this approval, we can put our major efforts into fund raising.”
The next fund-raising event for the Great Falls Freedom Memorial will take place on May 25 at The Old Brogue Irish Pub in the Village Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Supporters of the memorial will be giving presentations and seeking community input on the project as it enters this new phase.
“We’re still looking for local businesses to contribute, not only monetarily, but with construction as well, “ said Kearney. The memorial is being built through contributions from residents and through the Old Brogue Charities, which has pledged to maintain the memorial in perpetuity.
If fund raising continues at the pace it is going now, construction on the Great Falls Freedom Memorial could take place as soon as this summer or early fall.