City, county officials to study where to locate organization's proposed veterans monuments

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cape Girardeau County and Cape Girardeau city officials plan to conduct a study in the next few weeks to decide the best location for four new monuments honoring veterans.

A local veterans organization plans a fund-raiser Nov. 1 to raise money for the purpose of adding four war monuments to the lawn of the Common Pleas Courthouse. But that location has not been approved by county and city officials.

Members of VietNow, who erected a memorial to Vietnam War veterans on the courthouse lawn this summer, want to honor those who served in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War with similar monuments.

Cape Girardeau County Commissioner Jay Purcell said both the city and county support the concept of honoring all veterans of the nation's wars but haven't approved a location for the monuments.

"What we'd like to do is have a study between the city and the county to determine where the best place is to put these monuments," Purcell said.

He hopes the city and county can come to a decision on the location of the monuments within the next few weeks.

"The courthouse lawn might very well be the best place for them," he said. "But before we start having all these monuments built, we need to make sure it's a site we all can be proud of."

The entire display, including the Vietnam War memorial and two Civil War monuments, would be connected by a brick walkway laid out in an octagon. The area would be called the Octagon of Honor, said Rodger Brown, president of the local VietNow chapter.

Brown estimates the project may cost between $100,000 to $150,000. The organization hopes to raise a majority of the funds from $50 tickets to a Patriot's Ball on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at the Arena Building.

Brown said VietNow would be disappointed if the county and city don't approve the Common Pleas Courthouse location. But he said VietNow will erect the monuments at another location if the Common Pleas Courthouse concept isn't approved.

"In our opinion that is the most appropriate place for them," Brown said. "The bottom line is that these people deserve honor and recognition."

Since the Vietnam Memorial was erected at the courthouse lawn in July, Brown said the VietNow organization has been pleased with the response of the monument from the community.

"We're absolutely flabbergasted by the people who sit in their lawn chairs and weep at that monument," he said. "It has only encouraged us to do some more."

335-6611, extension 246

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