Describing themselves as “A Grateful Donor,” another brick has been purchased to honor a Garner native, James Noel Bryan, WWII veteran that spent 330 days in a German POW camp. This brick will be placed in the “Walkway of Honor” at the Garner Veterans Memorial at Lake Benson Park. Noel Bryan was married to Dolly Bryan, a well-known Garner teacher that taught Garner students for more than 60 years. Noel and Dolly had no children of their own. He also was affectionately known by many Garner Main Street merchants and residents as “Mayor of Main Street.”
Noel Bryan enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 17, 1943 and received basic training at Camp Robinson, Ark. Assigned to the 83rd Infantry Division, he boarded a ship for England on April 6, 1944. On June 12, 1944, several days after D-Day at Omaha Beach, he landed in France. He was later captured and was marched, along with several others in his Company, across France, some 400 miles. Reaching Stalag IV B, a German prison camp with nearly 5,000 prisoners of all nationalities, run by British soldiers, he spent 330 days as a POW. Noel Bryan died on Jan. 15, 1985.
In a journal, containing notes from his basic training and capture, Noel Bryan wrote that the food the prisoners received was a “scant meal per day of pumpkin soup, a few potatoes, peelings and all and maybe a hard loaf of black bread.”
The brick that will be placed on the Walkway of Honor will be printed with the following: James Noel Bryan, US Army WWII, Prisoner of War, Mayor of Main Street.
The Garner Veterans Memorial Committee anticipates completion of the memorial by Veterans Day, 2012. Memorial bricks may be purchased for any veteran, living or dead, to include those currently serving. Brick order forms are available by accessing www.garnerveteransmemorial.org or calling Faye Gardner at 919-772-6440. Support this project by purchasing a memorial brick.