Fairfax County officials have approved a final design for the Defense of Freedom Memorial on the grounds of the Great Falls Library.

The privately financed memorial will honor Great Falls area residents who have died serving their country or community. About $54,000 of the estimated $100,000 cost of the memorial has been raised, sponsors said, adding that they hope to begin construction this month and finish in the fall.

Under the plans, the monument would consist of three stones, representing the Great Falls of the Potomac. The large center stone would carry the inscription, "The community of Great Falls, Virginia, honors those who have given of themselves in service to the cause of liberty."

The path leading to the memorial would be called the Freedom Walk, ending at Freedom Plaza. The plaza would be surrounded by a six-foot-high berm, which would dampen noise from nearby Georgetown Pike (Route 193) and create a more private setting. Trees and other plantings also would help soften the experience of visiting the memorial, planners said.

The six Great Falls residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks would be commemorated with the planting of six ornamental trees as a gateway to the plaza.

A book inside the library would contain the names and background of the servicemen, firefighters, police officers and others who have died "in the cause of freedom and liberty throughout our history."

The memorial was designed by Lukmire Partnerships Inc., Paciulli, Simmons & Associates and the county Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

A private foundation has offered a $15,000 matching grant. To contribute, send donations to Brogue Charities, Great Falls Freedom Memorial, P.O. Box 295, Great Falls, Va. 22066.

-- STEPHEN C. FEHR

An artist's rendering shows the Defense of Freedom Memorial at Great Falls Library. The largest of three stones in the plaza will bear an inscription.