JANESVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Veterans and others in a northeast Iowa town are about $11,000 short of what they need for a memorial that will honor men and women who have served in the U.S. military.
The Janesville Veterans Memorial would be the first of its kind in Janesville, a town of about 930. Organizers say the memorial will honor servicemen and women from every branch and from all over, not just Janesville.
“It’s for all veterans. It isn’t just for Janesville,” said committee member Thomas Brickman, a Vietnam veteran. “We are honoring all military veterans that have served their country.”
Local American Legion members started to raise the $84,000 they needed a year ago. A memorial planning committee set a goal to break ground this spring, and crews plan to begin construction by the Riviera Roose Community Center.
“We’re ecstatic about how everything has been going,” said committee member Bill Bloker, another Vietnam veteran.
Plans for the memorial include a five-sided retaining wall representing different military branches.
Organizers have been selling memorial bricks and holding other fundraisers. That includes selling popcorn at garage sales and hosting a chili and oyster supper. The committee recently hosted a fundraising event that included a dance, dinner and auction.
Brickman said the project is a way to cope with the past.
“We’ve been spit at, yelled at, and it’s just the way we were treated,” he said. “I hope that never ever happens to another soldier.”
For now, the proposed memorial location just has a sign outlining the plan. Brickman said he can’t wait for the actual memorial.
“I will probably shed a lot of tears of happiness,” he said.
They plan to complete the memorial by Veterans Day this year.
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