BLOOMINGTON – After 11 months of planning, fund raising, and of course construction, the American Legion Post 148 of Bloomington and Glen Haven was able to unveil their new Veteran’s Memorial last Saturday afternoon in front of a very spirited crowd.
The memorial, which sits in the corner of the Bloomington Community Park, is located at the intersection of County A and Highway 35.
A large flag pole centered inside of a star, proudly displays our nation’s flag, which was donated by the Scott Daentl family, in honor of their son Cord, who served in Iraqi.
At each corner of the star is a column of granite with names of local veterans who have so proudly served our country. There is also a granite column in front of the memorial that reads; “Dedicated 2011 Bloomington-Glen Haven American Legion Post 148.”
At each corner of the platform are stone benches, which allow visitors to sit down and take it all in.
The design of the memorial came from 22-year-old, Danielle Lewis, of Lancaster, who is the daughter of Steve Lewis, Commander of American Legion Post 148.
Her design was chosen among dozens of others who were anonymously submitted to the legion for consideration.
It was Commander Steve Lewis who spoke first at Saturday’s dedication, explaining to the audience the hard work and effort it took to get where they are today.
“Today, as the flag was raised, I know that everyone on the memorial committee stood a little straighter and a little taller,” said Commander Steve Lewis in his opening speech. “Members of Post 148 and the citizens of both villages should stand tall and be proud, because we have accomplished what some said we could never do. And we did it in a record amount of time.”
What started out as an idea last October, was now a realization 11 months later, and remarkably, done at no cost to any of the veterans.
A number of speakers were on hand to dedicate the memorial on Saturday, including Assemblyman Travis Tranel and State Senator Dale Schultz.
“This is a beautiful, beautiful park here in Bloomington, and I think this memorial just puts the icing on the cake,” said Tranel. “I hope when people visit this park, just for two or three seconds, that they stop and they realize and they reflect and they give thanks for how fortunate we are to live in this country.”
“The reason we’re able to enjoy the freedoms that we have today are because of the people whose names are on that wall,” Tranel added. “All too often I’m afraid that we forget that.”
The importance of a Veteran’s Memorial wasn’t lost on State Senator Dale Schultz either, who reminded those in attendance just what a memorial like this means to the veterans.
“I hope that each and every one of you in this wonderful, wonderful community, take the opportunity to come here one day and marvel at what you have,” Schultz said. “For those of you who have family members or friends serving overseas, I hope that you also come here to use this as a place to reflect on the importance of that mission.”
As Commander Steve Lewis so fittingly said following Saturday’s ceremony, “I know when the flag went up, I could see it in the audience, that it meant something then. It was finally at that point where they could say this is ours.”