The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Monday for the new Flags of Honor memorial in Willmar
The public groundbreaking ceremony will begin Monday at 11 a.m. with the Flags of Honor located on Business Highway 71 on the shores of Lake Willmar.
“We are delighted with the groundbreaking ceremony to launch the flags of honor memorial renovation project. The event is the culmination of two years of fundraising and tells the story of the memorial, ”Steve Gardner, project manager, said in an email to the Central West Tribune.
Construction will begin in earnest after July 4, another auspicious day for a veterans memorial, and will last for about three months. Marcus Construction is the construction manager, and it is hoped the project will be completed in time for the unveiling to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“I think it’s important for us as a community to commemorate those veterans who sacrificed their youth and, in some cases, their lives for our country. This memorial is a great way to do that,” Gardner said. .
The project includes the installation of a brand new memorial with bronze medallions representing each of the five traditional armed forces. There will also be a new paved plaza, lighting, three large flag poles to display US, state and POW flags, and landscaping. The current group of 100 flag poles upstream and around the central plaza will be reduced to 50. The current monument on the site will be located in another part of the memorial.
Families of veterans were given the opportunity to purchase stone pavers or a limited number of benches. Funds raised through the sale will go to the project, which is estimated to cost approximately $ 250,000. Pavers can be purchased for $ 250, while benches cost $ 5,000. Each will be engraved with the veteran’s name, branch of service, unit and years of service.
Gardner said there were still 364 pavers available and two benches. More information can be found on the Flags of Honor Willmar Veterans Memorial Facebook page. The rest of the funding for the project comes from private and corporate donations.
Since the town of Willmar owns the memorial park, the city council was approached and gave its approval for the project in 2018. At the city council meeting on Monday, it also approved a rental agreement with the Central Council of Veterans to allow the group to use the memorial of the events.
The last time the Flags of Honor memorial was updated was in 1987. Members of the Central Veterans Council – made up of members of the American Legion, foreign war veterans and disabled American veterans , along with many others in the community – believe a renovation is necessary.
The new memorial will be a worthy place for veterans, as well as their families, friends and the community at large, to reflect on those who have served their country in times of peace and war.
“As a veteran myself who served in the First Gulf War, I find it humbling to see my name next to those who came before me in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and proud of it. “To be alongside veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will have veterans of all generations recognized at the memorial,” Gardner said.