A Howard County group has unveiled the design for a planned veterans monument along the lakefront in downtown Columbia.

The design was unveiled at a gathering Wednesday at Bailey Park, where it will be located. It is by artist Larry Kirkland, who has worked on other military-themed memorials and monuments, according to a news release from the Howard County Veterans Foundation. Kirkland has been working on the project since 2017.

The monument, the group says, will include a sculpture made up of three stars — a base star representing the community that supports military service members and their families during a deployment, a blue star that commemorates service members and families, and a hollow gold star embedded in the blue star reflecting the hole created by the loss of service members in the line of duty.

The sculpture will be encircled by a reflecting pond and bench. The monument will also feature inspiring words and quotes.

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Artist Larry Kirkland has been working on the design of the monument since 2017. (Howard County Veterans Foundation)

“We’ve spent over five years carefully considering and designing every detail of the veterans monument to properly pay tribute to our veterans and families,” said Robert Gillette, the foundation’s president, in a written statement. “We want it to be a place for the community to gather on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and throughout the year to celebrate the freedoms and privileges our veterans swore an oath to protect.”

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball noted the county is home to more than 20,000 veterans who have served with “conviction and courage,” according to the news release. Thousands more work at nearby Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.

The foundation is seeking to raise $2.75 million to construct and maintain the monument. The foundation said initial funding includes $1.5 million in grants from the state, county grants totaling nearly $300,000 and about $50,000 in private donations.

For more information, visit HowardCountyVeterans.org.

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