Lynchburg, VA - Plans are moving forward to repair the doughboy statue, an icon that's stood in downtown Lynchburg for decades.
City officials met with members of the historical society, a sculptor and veterans advocates Friday.
One option they're considering is replacing the broken bayonet with a replica made of stainless steel.
Veterans want the original bayonet put back on. They say this statue should be restored to its former glory while the sculptor says replacing it with a stainless steel one could strengthen the statue for many years to come.
For more than eight decades, the doughboy statue has stood at the base of Monument Terrace, considered sacred ground by military men and woman. When a piece of the bayonet was broken off in October, veterans groups raised $3,000 in reward money. Eventually, a tipster turned in Jessica McCrickard of Madison Heights. She told police she panicked and threw it in the James River.
Steve Bozeman, a two-time purple heart recipient, says it felt like Christmas morning when state police divers recovered the bayonet a few weeks later.
"This is the real McCoy. And by putting a fake one there, it may look the same, you may never know the difference. But, I would know it and the other veterans would know it too," said Bozeman.
If the bayonet is replaced with a stainless steel replica, veterans groups hope to put the real bayonet on display at the Lynchburg museum. Right now, Bozeman is shopping around for cost estimates. It could be several more months until the statue is fixed.