A memorial badge presentation was held last Wednesday in a metal fabrication plant near Dickson County, where craftsmen are building a monument called the America’s Wall of Honor that is planned for tours across the United States.
“Don’t take a knee,” Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe told the gathering at the Lilja Corp. building in the Hickman County town of Lyles. “Stand for America.”
The presentation honored the families of two Dickson County Sheriff’s Office members who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Accepting the memorial badge for Sgt. Daniel Baker were his wife, Lisa Shrock Baker, and daughter, Meredith.
Accepting the memorial badge for Deputy Field Training Officer Keith Bellar were his parents, Ricky and Debbie Bellar.
Those in attendance included law enforcement members and the people teaming up on the America’s Wall of Honor project, led by California artist Tim Lampros with Art of Honor LLC and Lilja Corp. Operations Manager Dwayne Polinski.
The monument will be a metal wall powder coated black, on which will be seals made of laser-cut stainless steel, representing fire-rescue personnel, the National Guard, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the President of the United States, the Army, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and law enforcement at the city, county, state and federal levels.
The seals will include glass and illumination to give them a glowing effect, according to Lampros and literature with illustrations on display at the event.
The presidential seal will be about 51 inches in diameter and weigh over 400 pounds. The other seals will be slightly smaller.
“Every seal consists of hundreds of laser-cut parts, polished and colored with permanent, baked-on powder coating, and welded together to create a magnificent three-dimensional work of art,” the literature said.
The monument anticipates the re-election of President Donald Trump. Near the base of the monument, the names of presidents and their years in office are laser-cut, with the entry for Trump stating 2017-2025.
Art of Honor director of development Rod Edwards said that there are many possible sites being looked at for a home for the monument.
The unfinished monument was the backdrop for the memorial badge presentation. The wall had temporary seals, as the permanent ones are not finished, and the wall has not been painted.
Bledsoe, Lampros and Polinski, said that incidents of police brutality do not justify attacks on the law enforcement community, symbols of America and monuments involving the nation’s history.
“Right now, evil out there is trying to erase everything we should never forget,” Lampros said. “This country is about never forgetting.”
The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release ahead of the event. Bledsoe, who is stepping down July 5 to lead the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, said in the announcement:
“Without the brave men and women of our military and emergency services, evil would triumph and consume our communities. The idea, design, production, and future tours of America’s Wall of Honor will contribute to the healing of many. This is an amazing project and I am glad to have been given an inside look at the build. The love and respect shown from this great team stands in support of America, while others take a knee. It is time we unite and prove it is in God we trust. This is no doubt a project of love.”