Memorial park will be nice addition for downtown Lumberton

We are pleased to know that the city of Lumberton is in the early stages of developing what is being called a memorial park, which will be located in the downtown area of the county seat.

It puts to use an important piece of real estate, where the Robeson County Board of Elections was once located, but of more interest is that it will provide an appropriate venue for somber events that honor this nation’s heroes, including Memorial Day and Veterans Day — and also, we presume, celebrations of America’s greatness, such as the Fourth of July. It also fits nicely into continuing efforts to revitalize the downtown area by giving people a reason to go there beyond a visit to the county courthouse.

The effort is actually a reboot. City officials first began planning the memorial park in 2016, but like so many other things, it had to wait because of Hurricane Matthew and the recovery from that storm that is ongoing.

The park will be located on 1.1 acres of land close to the new roundabout that has greatly enhanced traffic flow into the downtown area. The park will become one of the first things visitors entering downtown from Interstate 95 at Exit 19 will see, which should provide for a good and lasting first impression.

The city and county governments are working together to provide ample parking at the nearby county administrative offices, which will be vacated when the renovated BB&T building is ready for to be occupied sometime next year.

City officials have been taking some road trips, visiting similar parks to borrow ideas. Monuments, presumably with names of Robeson County’s war dead, should be a central aspect of the park.

The cost to the city, which is projected at about $75,000, is minimal, and is mostly for some sidewalk work and utilities.

Such a park is overdue for Lumberton, which didn’t have a city-sponsored Memorial Day event this past weekend. This newspaper was only able to find a handful of such events in Robeson County, and they were poorly attended because of Monday’s persistent and heavy rainfall.

About 1.35 million Americans have died fighting for this country, with the deadliest conflicts, in descending order, being the Civil War, which preserved the union, World War II, which saved the world, World War I, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and then the Revolutionary War, our favorite of all the wars, the one that gave us the liberty that we all enjoy and too many take for granted.

It is those 1.35 million dead who not only helped establish this country, preserve and then protect it, but has enabled freedom to endure into its 242nd year. There remains no freer country on the Earth, which is the reason people flood into this country and not out of it.

We were a bit disappointed with Memorial Day in this county on Monday, not only because there were so few events, but that the turnout was depressed. Yes, it was rainy, but wars don’t stop for the bad weather.

We look forward to seeing the memorial park that will honor the war dead come alive. We believe, situated as it will be pretty much in the heart of the county, that it can become a centerpiece for events, somber and celebratory, in the future, drawing folks not only from Lumberton, but from all corners of the county.