Gov. Pat McCrory announced that the state would contribute $100,000 toward developing a traveling exhibit honoring and memorializing the Persian Gulf War.
The money will be combined with another $100,000 the government of Kuwait gave North Carolina not long after the war. McCrory said that the money never has been used.
McCrory made the announcement Friday during a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of the start of the 1991 war, which went by the codename Operation Desert Storm, at the N.C. Museum of History.
During a somber moment, McCrory began the ceremony by reading the names of 17 North Carolinians who died in the Persian Gulf War.
“These were the 17 men that fought for us and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in this war that began 25 years ago today,” McCrory said. “It does seem like yesterday. But I guarantee that to each of those 17 families, it seems like a half-hour ago. It’s going to be with them for the rest of their lives.”
McCrory continued. “We should never forget the sacrifice that them and other men and women who are still in military hospitals and fighting the impact of this war have done for us.”
McCrory said 75,000 people from North Carolina’s military bases were sent to Kuwait and the surrounding region to support the war effort.
The war started after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. President George H.W. Bush led a coalition of nations to remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait.
Thomas Chapman, the nephew of Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Chapman of Pollocksville, one of the 17 killed in the war, said families are honored by the memorial plans.
Chapman noted that he wasn’t born until four years after his uncle was killed. “I never got the chance to know the man,” he said. But he said he grew up hearing stories about his uncle.
“I am so, so thankful for the service that he did and what he did for our country,” Chapman said. “Having $100,000 donated to go toward the fund of remembering veterans like him and the 17 others means the absolute world to me.”
McCrory also announced that resources would be found to upgrade the state’s veterans cemeteries, which he said were in bad shape.
Barry Smith (@Barry_Smith) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.