Anniston's Centennial Memorial Park hosts loved ones of the name - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Anniston's Centennial Memorial Park hosts loved ones of the names on the walls

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ANNISTON, Ala. - Hundreds of people gathered Monday morning at Anniston's Centennial Memorial Park.

The crowd looked even larger due to the reflections of the black granite memorial walls, which display the names of every combat casualty from the state."

"There's over 10,000 in the state of Alabama that never made it to the veteran status," Vietnam veteran Ken Rollins said.

"So this is the day we pay tribute to them, and shame on us if we don't."

The name of his uncle, Ben Montgomery, is engraved on the World War II memorial wall at the park.  Montgomery was a pilot whose plane was shot down.

"His body's never been recovered, so I always think of him when I'm here," Rollins said.

"I didn't know him.  My grandmother told me stories about him until her death.  She kept waiting on that letter to come to say they found him.  We never found his remains."

Others paid tribute to veterans who died after they finished with the military to make sure their service isn't forgotten.

Caroll Keasler placed a rose in memory of her father, Sanford Keasler, who served in World War II and the Korean War during his 26 years in the military.  Her son Jacob placed a rose in memory of his father, Charles Barnes, who was in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

"I brought Jacob because I want him to realize ours freedoms are not free.  Lives were given for us, so that we could do the things that we wanted to do."

Centennial Memorial Park is in the process of adding sections to honor soldiers from Alabama who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It will also be home to a new Alabama law enforcement memorial for police, and a memorial for firefighters.

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