The idea of building a memorial in order to honor and remember the veterans from the Darlington area first became a topic of discussion back in the fall of 2009. According to Dan O’Brien, president of the Veterans Memorial Committee, people in the community were constantly asking members of the American Legion why there wasn’t already some type of veterans memorial in Darlington.
After Veterans Day this year, such a memorial will finally be completed. On Sunday, Nov. 11 the dedication and unveiling of the Darlington Area Veterans Memorial will take place at the Veterans Memorial Park in Darlington at 2:00 p.m. American Legion State Adjutant David Kurtz will serve as the guest speaker and the Darlington High School band and choir will provide songs and music for the day. Everyone is welcome to attend the event, especially all local veterans.
Back in 2009, after hearing the concerns and desires of the community for a memorial, the Veterans Memorial Committee was formed. The committee set a goal of raising $250,000 to go towards the memorial, which thanks to the generosity of many individuals, businesses, and organizations was successfully met.
In 2010 Greg Bykowski, a member of the Darlington American Legion Post 214 and also the Darlington High School art teacher, became involved when he and his art students provided drawings for the memorial committee to design the look of the memorial, which will be a 50-foot half circle of granite with the names of 2,339 veterans from Darlington and the surrounding area etched in the stone.
Ground was first broken at the site where the memorial will sit on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28 and over the next six months or so construction work has been ongoing right up until the week before the dedication ceremony, when the section of Main St. in front of the memorial site was blocked off in order to complete final preparations.
All of the money that went towards the veterans memorial fund was collected on a donation basis from individuals, businesses, groups and organizations in the area. O’Brien said, “The community has really pushed for the memorial.”
And this Veterans Day that push will have paid off when the new Darlington Area Veterans Memorial is unveiled.