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DECATUR — The World War II Memorial is complete, and it’s exceeding expectations.

The memorial, located in front of the Decatur Civic Center, will be dedicated at noon Friday.

From an idea conceived by the late World War II Army hero E.E. “Pete” Nicholls in 2004 and carried on by a group including Gordon Brenner, Pete Nicholls’ son Peter, Dave Freyling, Larry Foster, Brian Byers, Orv Graham and Rudy Escobar, the black marble memorial was erected last week by the Pyramid Marble and Granite Co. of Effingham.

Forty-eight feet in diameter and based on a preliminary model by retired architect Graham Bradley, the striking memorial contains the names of more than 300 Macon County military personnel who were killed, plus name bricks of service personnel from all branches: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

The memorial is also dedicated to the “soldiers without guns,” those who worked on the home front to help win the war.

The dedication schedule:

- Master of ceremonies: David Freyling, Veterans Assistance Commission of Macon County Inc.

- Pledge to the flag of the United States.

- Invocation by Dan Spruell, Decatur Memorial Hospital chaplain.

- Moment of silence in respect to those who have paid the ultimate price and those who are listed as missing in action from all wars.

- Presentation of donations: Refreshment Services Pepsi of Decatur is donating $1,000 and the Decatur Civic Center Board is adding $500.

- Introduction of guests.

- Speaker: William Grieve, retired Marine colonel and retired Richland Community College history professor.

- Firing detail and “Taps,” Macon County Honor Guard.

- Benediction: Dan Spruell.

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