- A Clark County man who snatched a lit fuse from a Confederate cannon and another who died helping fellow sailors escape from the U.S.S. Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor were awarded the Medal of Honor.
- A Springfield High graduate who taught at the Navy War College was the architect of the nation’s winning strategy for capturing the South Pacific islands in World War II.
- A day after flying his unit’s first sorties in Europe, a Tuskegee Airman whose father was the pastor of the New North Street AME Church died during a training mission in Italy.
- Riding a motorcycle along the front lines, a Clark County soldier delivered the official notice of the armistice that ended World War I to American Headquarters.
Building on the momentum created by the work of Vietnam era veterans — and with the cooperation and support of veterans of other conflicts — our community is now mustering its resources for an expanded memorial in Veterans Memorial Park to honor those who served our nation in the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
As the examples above show, those to be honored are an impressive lot.
Just as a veterans memorial seems only appropriate in a county named for a Revolutionary War Veteran, this coming Veterans Day, Nov. 11, will be an appropriately important day for the project. It is the date by which we’d like families and friends of veterans to submit pictures and information to be considered for inclusion in the memorial, a decision that will be made by a panel of local veterans and stakeholders.
Material can be sent or dropped off at the National Trail Parks & Recreation District, 1301 Mitchell Blvd., Springfield, Ohio, 45503.
Although space limitations mean that not all the images can be used, the submissions will be forwarded to the Clark County Heritage Center for archiving and thus become part of the county’s historical record, one that will preserve the soldiers’ memories.
Some may be part of an interactive feature that will allow those touring the memorial to hear veterans’ stories.
Those who want to help this project succeed also are being asked to consider a Veterans Day contribution (tax-deductible) toward the $400,000 goal for building this lasting tribute. That amount will be needed on top of the $50,000 already raised and spent to get the project underway.
Checks can be sent to the address above. Personalized brick pavers, available for as little as $100, are also being sold as a part of the project. (See the To Contribute information attached to this column.)
With a generous $11,000 grant from the Springfield Conservancy District, which owns that section of park property, CYP Landscape Design Studios of Dayton and Columbus developed a plan to incorporate the existing Vietnam tributes into a larger design. Those monuments have been relocated in anticipation of the project going forward.
Organized in four sections to represent the four centuries, a major feature of the memorial will be a series of eight black granite blocks representing eight major conflicts: The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the War on Terror. Black granite was chosen as the surface for holding the images of each conflict because granite brings with it the dignity of a gravestone.
The hardships of war will be represented by structures called hedgehogs, which were used in a variety of wars to block the progress of troops in the field. The metal of those hedgehogs will rust over time, increasing their intended visual effect.
The design also includes amenities of the sort expected in a memorial: walkways, flowers, benches and lighting. Although it will be accessible to all, accessibility seems a particularly important feature for disabled veterans and families who will visit the site.
All five branches of the service will be represented in the exhibit, which also includes a stone already contributed by Lagonda Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.
The design’s flexibility provides sufficient space to honor future veterans.
Like others involved in this effort, we at National Trail Parks and Recreation District are happy to play a part in the effort. But it’s only one part of the community effort that will be required to make the Veterans Memorial Bridge across Buck Creek become the place where people can look down at a tribute to all our veterans in Veterans Memorial Park.
Between now and Veterans Day, please consider playing your part as well.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
To make a financial contribution to the $400,000 campaign to complete a tribute to four centuries of Clark County veterans, send a check to National Trail Parks and Recreation District, 1301 Mitchell Blvd., Springfield, Ohio 45503. To buy a paver brick to be installed at the site, go to ntprd.org, click on the “Forms” link near the bottom and scroll to Veterans Memorial Brick Form. To submit an image for consideration in the memorial, go to the same “Forms” link and scroll to Veterans Memorial Image Submission. Deadline to submit images is Veterans Day, Nov. 11.