JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)–In the military town of Jacksonville, the Freedom Fountain serves as a prominent symbol. Today, community members gathered for its annual observance and to take a moment to reflect on what it means to be free.
The fountain was unveiled in 2012. Ever since then, it’s become the community’s most visual, tangible and meaningful symbol of awareness.
“This is here to make sure that people realize the sacrifices these men and women who’ve been in the service in Onslow County have made,” Lt. Gen. (ret) Gary McKissock, keynote speaker, said.
The center spire represents freedom and the three around it represent the branches of government. Around the basin are 50 bubblers, one for each state. Behind the fountain are five archways for the branches of military service, each with a large medallion.
The fountain is the gateway for downtown Jacksonville. All who travel to and from the city will pass by it.
“When I drive by it, it tells me that Jacksonville is behind the veterans,” Curtis Neagle, retired USMC, said. “There are so many places that aren’t behind the veterans.”
The ceremony, hosted by the city and the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee, featured speakers on the history of the fountain and music from New Bridge Middle School’s chorus.
McKissock spoke of the meaning of freedom during his address. It’s a topic that resonates with Army veteran Robert Oslin.
“Just look at the wall over there and all of the names on it,” he said. “That will tell you that it doesn’t come free.”
Lights at the fountain were lit in red, white and blue Thursday night as part of the observance.