Lula’s Veterans Park is coming to life with 207 bricks laid in honor of soldiers and more bricks sold every day.
Lula City Councilwoman Vicky Chambers said the bricks, which can be purchased and inscribed with the name of a veteran, have been very popular.
"The response has been really a lot more than I thought it would be," Chambers said. "Everybody seems to be very on board with this park."
The wall of the park has five spaces that hold 207 bricks each. The first set was recently placed on the wall, and Chambers said Lula sells about 10 each day.
Within the first 207 bricks, there are the names of veterans from the Revolutionary War all the way up to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chambers said the bricks are a big draw for history buffs. "We’ve got a lot of genealogists who are honoring family members," Chambers said.
There are a number of notable Lula veterans throughout history that are represented in the Veterans Park.
One soldier who fought before the city existed will soon be represented in the park.
"In this next bunch we’ll have Nerverson Cook, who is buried in an abandoned cemetery just inside the city limits, and he was a soldier in the War of 1812. He was in one of the first families that moved into this area long before there was any such thing as Lula," Chambers said.
Maj. Kevin Jenrette, who was killed in Afghanistan this year, and Army Pfc. Johnathon Millican, who was killed in Iraq in 2007, each have a brick in the park.
"They are the first two bricks we put in place," Chambers said.
The recent sacrifice of two of Lula’s soldiers makes the park very meaningful to residents.
"We have two soldiers up here in Lula that have been killed in the current war and that in itself generates a lot of interest in honoring soldiers," Chambers said.
Not all bricks represent deceased soldiers, however. Chambers said many local families have bought bricks to honor their friends and relatives who have returned from military service. "It’s not a memorial, it’s an honor brick," she said.
The Veterans Park also features an interactive fountain.
"We have children playing in it every day," Chambers said. "The vets that I know have been very pleased with the fact that children are able to play in the park. It kind of makes what they gave up to accomplish worthwhile because it shows that freedom is working. It’s alive and well."
Bricks cost $50 and are available at Around the Corner Florist next to park and at City Hall.
The park is the first step in revitalizing downtown Lula.
"All the money we’re earning off the bricks we’re using to renovate Downtown Lula. So it’s going to be put right back into the town," Chambers said.
The city has a streetscape project next on the agenda to revitalize the area.
"The more bricks we have, the more like we feel it’s been a success," Chambers said. "That’s exactly what we built the park for, where the town can honor all of America’s veterans, not just Lula’s veterans."