After months of planning, ground was broken Sept. 5 at Dennis H. Rinderer Park on the Wall of Remembrance and Honor.
“This is another great day for the city of Highland as a number of us come together again and give our respect to the veterans who have sacrificed their lives to defend this country,” Mayor Joe Michaelis said at the ground breaking.
Highland officials and members of the American Legion Post 439 and Veterans of Foreign War Post 5694 gathered at the park, located along Veterans Honor Parkway, for ceremonial start to construction of the wall. The project has been coordinated as a joint effort between the two veterans organizations as a way to commemorate the lives and service of all local veterans who died while serving in either World War. The monument is also a tribute to first responders.
“I am so looking forward to the finish of this, because to me, this puts the finishing touches on what Veterans Honor Parkway is all about,” said Kate Broadhurst, the Legion’s assistant service officer and the VFW’s past commander and current service officer.
The wall will have bronze plaques with the names of the 17 fallen heroes from all branches of the military, 16 of which died in World War II and one in World War I. A police officer killed in the line of duty in Highland from that time period will also have a spot on the wall. A bronze plaque in the center of the wall will indicate the purpose of the project with the saying, “All gave some, but some gave all.”
Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. in Highland awarded the project, having submitted the low bid of $38,780 during the Highland City Council meeting April 17. The estimated completion date is sometime in November, depending upon the weather.
However, dedication of the project, which was originally set for July 4 last summer and then again for Veterans Day this November will have to be moved back once again, due to complications with the brick pavers and granite slabs that were sold as a way to raise funds for the project. The new targeted dedication date is July 4, 2018.
“I know it is a long ways off, but we would rather do it right than not,” Broadhurst said.
The Legion and VFW were selling the pavers to raise funds for the bronze plaques that will rest on the wall bearing the names of the deceased veterans. Broadhurst said the engraver for the project recently outlined some errors in the initial donation form.
Broadhurst said that anyone who has already ordered a slab or paver will be contacted by the the VFW or Legion to remedy the issue. For those wanting to make a donation now, the price and character requirement has changed from what was originally sold.
First, for 4-by-8-inch bricks being sold for $100, there can only be 13 characters engraved per line on this size. Secondly, there is now an 8-by-8-inch brick available for purchase for $135 that allows for six, 13 character lines. Lastly, the only memorial available with 20 characters per line is a 12-by-12-inch granite slab for $300; there are nine lines available on this option. There are no 8-by-12-inch granite slabs available for purchase.
The organizations will be accepting donations and taking orders for the pavers and slabs until January, according to Broadhurst.
A donation form can be found on the News Leader website. Send the form (including donation) to 1130 New Trenton Road, Highland, IL 62249. Checks can be made out to the Highland Area Community Foundation Veterans Memorial Pass Through Fund.
Issues with the original paver stones
Corrections issued by the veterans organizations for their first donation:
▪ Letters, spaces and punctuation marks are characters.
▪ Problems could be caused by multiple As, Ms, Ws or Ys, on the same line. Each brick will be reviewed with the purchaser to determine if the lettering will be possible.
▪ The original form erroneously indicates that 22 characters are available for three lines on a 4-by-8-inch brick for $100. There are only 13 characters per line fore use on this brick size.
▪ There is available an 8-by-8-inch brick that may have six lines of 13 characters for a cost of $135.
▪ The only memorial available with 20 characters per line is the 12-by-12-inch granite slab at a cost of $300. The misstatement for this item is the size. It is a 12-by-12-inch slab, not a 8-by-12-inch slab. There are nine lines of 20 characters available for this slab.
Source: American Legion Post 439 and VFW Post 5694.