The Veterans Day program in Platteville on Friday served a dual purpose. Veterans were honored on the day as they are each year. In addition, a preview of the Platteville Veterans Honor Roll Memorial was held at City Park. All eight of the statues were set in place for the event.
Several hundred people attended Friday's event.
The project is not yet completed. The statues are now in storage until the spring when they will be set in place permanently at City Park.
Friday's program began inside the city auditorium. Dave Kies, Vietnam veteran served as the guest speaker. During his service, Kies was injured in battle and was rescued from the jungle. Due to a paperwork mishap, Kies was considered killed in action for several years. His name is etched on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Kathy Kopp, a member of the Veterans Honor Roll Committe, lead the early presentation, while Mike Myers, Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Veterans Honor Roll Committee, lead the outdoor program at City Park.
"It was really nice to be able to have a really good Veterans Day ceremony to honor all veterans, but also be able to give the City of Platteville and the people from Platteville a preview of the Veterans Honor Roll Memorial," said Myers.
When the statues are placed in City Park next year, 3,536 names of veterans, both men and women from the Platteville area will be etched on their bases.
From the conception of the project, to now being able to see how the memorial will look when completed, Myers is impressed. "When we first started here and started talking about it when the Vietnam Moving Wall was here, I couldn't really fathom what it was going to look like and then I heard about these statues and saw pictures, and thought, ‘that is going to be pretty neat.' But once you see these seven-foot, five-inch statues placed throughout the park here, it is awesome," he said. "It is going to be one of the nicest memorials here in the Midwest."
A dedication ceremony for the completed memorial is planned for July 4, 2012, following a groundbreaking sometime in the spring.
Until then, Myers noted there is still some work to be done. Money needs to be raised to pay for the concrete bases for the statues, money is needed for an ongoing maintenance account, security cameras need to be purchased, and a flag arrangement needs to be finalized.