Perspective–50 columns, representing 100 North Carolina counties
The Community Plaza also contains the Community Columns which is an area that contains 50 columns with the names of each of the state’s 100 counties adorned with castings of hands from veterans, their families, and residents of every North Carolina County to represent the many hands that support veterans as they leave their communities to enter service. The County Columns are in order based on dates of incorporation into the state.
– A gently curving wall, integrating soils from each of the 100 counties, features 100 cast bronze hands from NC veterans, held firm at shoulder height symbolically taking the oath of service before their community. The Oath of Service Wall defines the Community Plaza space and represents the themes of community and transition from community into service. Bronze castings of North Carolina veterans’ hands, one from each of the 100 NC counties, represent the men and women who left their respective communities to take the military oath of enlistment/commissioning, taken by all those who serve. The bronze castings are displayed in formation, raised right hands, as a visual representation of a swearing-in ceremony and a reminder of those who willingly leave their homes to serve and protect. One veteran’s hand is his left hand, because he lost his right hand in combat. Pathways leaving the Community Plaza lead through small gateways symbolizing the transition away from one’s home to a life in service.
Profound that veteran representatives of each of our 100 counties were honored to have bronze castings of their hand as a symbol of all from their county who took this nation’s oath of service. It is also profound that the curved wall where the hands are placed contains soil from our state’s 100 counties.
As a 24-year veteran, I find the oath are the most solemn words I uttered during my military service. I am proud to have served this great nation…
Lieutenant Colonel James A. Artis (U.S. Army, Retired)
September 22, 1968 ~ August 31, 1992