Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2005

Veterans memorial ground broken

Monument to sit on southwest side of city hall

May 26, 2005

— With the push of six gold-colored shovels, the Lansing Memorial for Veterans took another step toward reality.

Members of veterans groups from across the area joined Lansing city officials on Friday afternoon in a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the proposed memorial, just west of City Hall, 800 First Terrace.

Mike Howell, senior vice commander of the Lansing Veterans of Foreign Wars and the pushing force behind the memorial, told the assembled his idea was to build both a monument to honor those who have served the country and to be a source of pride to the city of Lansing.

"I decided that it should not be a Lansing Veterans Memorial, but instead call I the Lansing Memorial to Veterans," Howell explained. "This name demonstrates the city's appreciation of what all those who have and are serving in our armed forces have done for us, no matter where they are from."

Howell said Friday's ceremony was a step in the process toward completing the memorial, which is envisioned as a tiered, tapered monument in the shape of the Pentagon, topped by flags of the United States, state of Kansas and city of Lansing. On its each of its corners will be a flag from one of the armed services: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

"While we are a long way off at this time from having the funds needed to construct this memorial, today, turning over a shovelful of dirt, is a first step," he said.

Walkways with bricks will lead to the monument. Howell is trying to sell 2,600 bricks, which would raise $104,000 for construction of the memorial. Bricks, which can be inscribed with the name of a veteran or the contributor, cost $40 each or $100 for three.

Lansing City Council President Kenneth Ketchum attended on behalf of Mayor Kenneth Bernard, who was out of town. Ketchum thanked the veterans organizations for their work on the memorial and for their service.

Also speaking at the event was Charlie Shoemaker, past state commander of the VFW and member of the Lansing VFW post, who said he had attended groundbreakings for veterans memorials on numerous occasions. But, he added, he had not participated in one as ambitious as Lansing's and was proud such a memorial was being planned in his hometown.

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