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Citizens reflect on Veterans Park of Effingham County's first 20 years
Ruth Lee
During Sunday’s 20th anniversary celebration at Veterans Park of Effingham County, Ruth Lee stands next to a photo of the original group of workers who helped make the memorial in Springfield a reality. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

EDITOR’S NOTE: See the March 10 edition of the Herald for a more detailed report on the history of Veterans Park.

SPRINGFIELD — A timeless memorial turned 20 years old Sunday.

Veterans Park of Effingham County achieved the milestone that was celebrated by more than 100 citizens at the pine-laden venue, including some of those responsible for making it possible.

“This park honors all of the veterans from this county from 1776 to what is happening today,” said Ruth Lee, the driving force behind the facility’s construction. “It’s really a park that honors the veterans all across the country.”

Each audience member was presented a copy of “The Park,” a magazine that details Veterans Parks’ history.

“It’s a beautiful thing and it was my privilege to write the story about how this park was built and how this community came together so that we could go ahead and do it,” Lee said.

In addition to Lee, speakers included Danny Burgstiner, the Rev. Delmons White, former County Administrator Lamar Crosby, Rep. Jon Burns and Gen. Claude Kicklighter. Local World War II hero James Sapp was also on hand.

Crosby said $370,000 was spent to construct the park, which features a granite wall adorned with the names of hundreds of veterans. He added that the actual cost is probably $1 million, noting that much of the work was done for free.

Lee unveiled a picture showing the original group of volunteers who helped make the park a reality.

“This simply shows how a community builds a park,” she said.