They Served. We Remember.


★ The Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument ★


Celebrating the Service and Sacrifice of Howard County’s Veterans and Military Families

Mission Status: The final design for the monument has been revealed. Read more.

The Howard County Veterans Foundation is spearheading the campaign to construct a monument in Downtown Columbia that recognizes and celebrates the courage, conviction and sacrifice of the tens of thousands of Veterans and military personnel living in Howard County and their families. Learn more about this important project and how you can support the mission.

A Place for Reflection and Honor

Howard County has long supported its men and women in uniform, and this monument will be a public and permanent way to honor their contributions. Located in Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park, we plan to create a meaningful environment that encourages contemplative reflection – where anyone can take a moment and offer a prayer or simply say, “Thank you for your service.”

The Meaning Behind the Monument

In 2017, the Howard County Veterans Foundation commissioned renowned artist Larry Kirkland to design the monument. Scroll over the image to explore the depth of its significance.


The blue star represents our Veterans and their families in honor of the long-standing tradition for families to hang a blue star when a loved one is deployed. The star is slanted at an angle, pointing upward toward the heavens, symbolizing the countless prayers given by all for a safe and a joyful reunion.


The base star is the community star which symbolizes the community at large who support and hold up these families while their loved one is serving. The ten faces of the community star will be engraved with words that reflect the character and virtues of what it means to be of service both as a military member and as a military family member. Those words are honor, courage, sacrifice, service, duty, country, integrity, valor, liberty and faith.


At the center is the gold star which reflects and captures those who have fallen in the line of duty and will never be with us again. It is a hollowed-out portion of the blue star and placed at the center to symbolize the hole in our hearts created by their loss and how they are forever at the center of our hearts and minds. The gold star is positioned to allow the sunlight to illuminate it to shine as bright as their memory.


The reflecting pond represents the tears that are shed and the blood lost. It is also meant to be a symbol of healing, cleansing and renewal. The pond is a place for individuals and families to come and sit on the surrounding benches and reflect on the cost of service and sacrifice of our veterans, currently serving military and their families.


The rim will display quotations that speak to the foundational principles of American freedom and democracy. The quotes read:

“With freedom comes responsibility.” - Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.” - President Calvin Coolidge

“The greatest strength in performing our mission comes from the encouragement we receive from our loved ones at home.” - Retired Navy Captain William E. Elliot, Jr. Former Commanding Officer of USS SEATTLE (AOE 3)

A Special Monument in a Special Place

In June 2017, the tract of land at the Lakefront in Columbia was dedicated as the future home of the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument. Since then, the space has been transformed into a public park named in honor of a World War II Veteran and iconic Howard County community leader: Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park.

On the eastern end of the park, closest to the lake, is a community gathering place. This is an open space where you can meet to celebrate, sip your morning coffee or just enjoy nature. Moving further west, in the park is a playground area. The final element, located at the western edge of the park, sitting on the hill overlooking the entire park will be the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument.

Meet the Monument Artist Larry Kirkland

Artist Larry Kirkland was raised in a large military family. Moving often across the U.S.A. and abroad was an education in cultural and geographic variety. He has both undergraduate and advanced degrees in the visual arts. Larry’s artworks are permanent large-scale environmental installations in places as varied as hospitals, medical schools, universities and transit centers throughout the world. His artwork focused on the military includes the: Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial, Sarasota National Cemetery and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. He has been creating the conceptual design of the Howard County Veterans Monument since 2017.

Help Us Finish the Mission

The Howard County Veterans Foundation seeks to raise $2.75 million to meet the building and endowment goals necessary to build and maintain the monument. This vision will become a reality because of caring and generous members of our community like you. There can be no more meaningful way to honor those heroes who served than to provide a lasting remembrance for future generations. Make a gift today.


Hamel Family Foundation