The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial was conceived in 1999 when J. William Felton III of Knoxville visited the Normandy beaches in northern France with his wife, Betty. Felton, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, was deeply, moved by the thousands of white crosses in the Normandy cemeteries, marking the graves of those who never got a chance to return home and pursue careers, raise families, further their education, own their own homes, or otherwise participate in opportunities and advances of post-World War II America. So he vowed to return home and work for a suitable way to honor and remember those who died. Memorial Facts: There are roughly 138 tons of granite in the Memorial--over a quarter of a million pounds. Most of the granite--all the white stone in the monuments and all the gray paving – comes from about 40 miles west of Yosemite National Park in California. The red granite paving comes from about 75 miles north of San Antonio, Texas. The black granite border is from a Quebec quarry about 125 miles north of Quebec City and about 135 miles from Maine. The Memorial Bell: Weighs 693 pounds; Musical Note: B; Diameter 31 ½”; Rung by Inside electric striker (the clapper is mounted inside the bell); Cast of 80% copper and 20% tin; Cast by Petit and Fritsen Royal Bellfoundry, The Netherlands; Sold by The Verdin Company, Cincinnati, OH. The list of names for the Memorial was compiled and researched for the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association by Cynthia Tinker of the UT Center for the Study of War and Society. At the outset, the list totaled less than 5000 names. On completion of this meticulous process to check for completion and accuracy, the total is now over 6000. The Memorial itself was designed by architect Lee Ingram of the Knoxville firm Brewer Ingram Fuller. Access Museum Services of Nashville has been retained by ETVMA as consultants for development of the Veterans History Center.
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