VietNow proposes four more monuments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The project may cost $100,000 to $150,000.

A local veterans organization that erected a memorial to Vietnam War veterans this summer now wants to add four more war monuments to the lawn of the Common Pleas Courthouse. The additional monuments would honor those who served during the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

The entire display, including the Vietnam War memorial, would be connected by an octagonal, brick-like walkway. The area would be called the Octagon of Honor, said Rodger Brown, president of the local VietNow chapter.

VietNow is an organization of veterans who have served in the military during the past 50 years.

The added monuments would complement the two Civil War monuments on the courthouse grounds in Cape Girardeau, he said, though adding, "At this point, we're not sure what the monuments will look like."

The Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II monuments may include sculptures of the type of helmet worn by American soldiers during those conflicts. The Korean War monument, he said, may include an outline of the country where the war was fought.

Brown estimates carving and erecting the monuments and building the walkway could cost $100,000 to $150,000.

Cape Girardeau County Commissioner Jay Purcell said the project still needs approval from county and city officials. But Purcell said he supports the concept of honoring all veterans of the nation's wars.

VietNow hopes to raise the money through sponsorships ranging from $100 to $1,000 and from a new event, the Patriot's Ball.

The Patriot's Ball will be held Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at the A.C. Brase Arena Building. The black-tie affair will include a catered dinner. The Jerry Ford Orchestra will perform.

Brown said VietNow plans to make the Patriot's Ball an annual event and to begin presenting an annual Patriot of the Year Award.

"We particularly want the Patriot's Ball to be something that the community looks forward to every fall," Brown said.

The group hopes to erect the war memorials on July 4, 2007, one year after the Vietnam War monument was dedicated.

The ultimate goal, Brown said, is to encourage patriotism in the community.

"We hope it will have an effect on adults so it trickles down to the youth so they understand what love of country and patriotism is all about," he said.

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