Wesley Chapel flagpole

Marine veteran Sgt. Charles Caldwell, left, assists in the placement of one of two flagpoles recently added to Dogwood Park in Wesley Chapel. Photo courtesy of Deb Coates Bledsoe 

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Through the efforts of a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and an Eagle Scout, Dogwood Park in Wesley Chapel now has a symbol that honors not only the state of North Carolina, but also those either killed in action or taken prisoner during the Vietnam War.

The recently completed project placed a flagpole on either side of the one that currently flies the American Flag.

The idea materialized when U.S. Marine veteran Sgt. Charles Caldwell proposed placing a flagpole in memory of the prisoners and missing soldiers of the Vietnam War. He donated the flagpole on which the POW/MIA flag will be flown.

Caldwell had a personal interest in honoring his fallen comrades as his Lima Infantry Unit of the Marine Corp served in the Republic of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. A plaque on the flagpole reads, “You will not be forgotten. Let it fly here in Dogwood Park for them and the 82,000 who are missing since World War II.”

In conjunction with this project, Eagle Scout Ross Bridgforth and fellow members of the Wesley Chapel Troop 46, donated another flagpole that will fly the North Carolina flag.

Organizers finished both projects in time for Veteran’s Day on Nov 11 and the Vietnam Memorial Day on Sept. 17.

Once the project was completed, organizers held a ceremony, with local VFW Post 2423 presenting colors and Ananda Thompson singing the National Anthem. Wesley Chapel’s Scout Troop 46, led by Eagle Scout Ross Bridgforth, raised the North Carolina flag.

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