As World War II veteran George Mann stood before the County Commission Thursday, he clutched a cane that waved an American flag, and his hat read Anzio Beach Head.

While Mann was cut down by shrapnel causing permanent injuries to his right arm, he was not there to request additional honors for himself or his fallen comrades.

Instead, he asked the commission for permission to place a monument to honor those from Cullman and Morgan counties that had fallen, been injured and are fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"They went over there for a purpose, to keep the enemy from coming to our homeland and beating up on our country," he said. "I think we ought to honor them."

As a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the local chapters of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mann said that the new monument should be placed on the south lawn of the courthouse, where there are monuments honoring those that served in other American wars and conflicts.

He said that the VFW and the American Legion hold special ceremonies there twice a year.

In all, he said that Cullman and Morgan counties have had five casualties in Iraq. If approved, the monument will bear their names and the names of any future local casualties in the conflict.

"We honor our dead by helping the living," he said.

The commission is expected to approve permission for the new monument during its regular meeting Monday.

At a cost of $1,750, Mann also asked the commission for help funding the project.

"If I had the money, I would do it myself," he said. "We'd like you all to help us out on this. If you can't pay for all of it, I understand."

Mann said that they would be seeking charitable contributions on the project and that area schools had offered to take up penny donations from their students to help out.

After the meeting, Associate Commissioner Doug Williams said he would do everything he could to help get contributions for the project.

Chairman Wiley Kitchens, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, said he thought they would be able to get enough donations to fund the project without spending any tax-payer money.

Mann said anyone interested in making a donation to the monument should send them to: VFW Post 2214, Attention: George Mann, Operation Iraqi Freedom Memorial, 112 Veterans Drive SW, Cullman, Ala. 35055.

Before leaving, Mann described childhood memories of visiting the grave of his grandfather, who fought for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He too was injured in battle, during the Vicksburg Campaign.

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