The foundation has been laid.
And the project is underway.
Progress is being made on the Veterans Park in front of Sidner Ice Arena with plans for completion at the end of May.
But more community support is being sought.
“We’re still in great need of donor support to finish the project,” said Chris Madsen, Veteran Park chairman. “We still have a goal of having an opening ceremony on Memorial Day in May, but to meet that goal we need the whole community’s support.”
Last summer, Madsen, who with Vern Gibson co-chairs the Fremont Avenue of Flags, announced plans for the park. Madsen is working with local veterans groups to raise funds to construct the park.
“Every commander of every veterans group is part of the committee and all veteran groups are part of this project,” Madsen said. “They’ve all been to the meetings. Our committee is fully backed by every veterans group in the community.”
Madsen said the park will honor all those who have served, are now serving or who will serve this country.
Kent Adams Construction in Fremont has completed the foundations and sidewalks for the project.
Funding for the project will come from donations from businesses, organizations and private individuals as well as from the sales of veterans’ tiles.
The park will include several features.
A hexagon monument will be in the center of the memorial’s concrete oval-shaped base. The monument will include pictures and information about conflicts and wars in which the United States has been involved.
The photographs and graphics will be etched into the black granite monument with a laser.
Also included will be six monoliths. Each monolith will represent a branch of the military and will include pictures and symbols, Madsen said.
A statue — to be lighted at night — will be situated in the oval-shaped memorial. The statue will depict a soldier holding a folded American flag and kneeling at what’s called a Battle Cross — a cross with a fallen soldier’s boots, helmet and rifle.
The oval-shaped memorial will be west of the Eternal Flame, which is on a concrete island. Flags representing each of the six branches of the military are on that island. The memorial also has an American flag.
Memory tiles will be displayed at the base of this flag and in an area between the flag and the Eternal Flame.
On the opposite end of the Eternal Flame, near Military Avenue, will be a “Liberty Island.”
It will include a granite-shaped star coming out of the ground. Behind that will be one monolith featuring a laser-etched depiction of the Statue of Liberty. Near that will be a monolith with a depiction of the Liberty Bell.
Three types of veterans’ tiles will be available for purchase. Veterans need not be deceased to have a tile purchased in their honor. The veterans can be from anywhere.
Current military personnel can purchase a tile, too. When their end date occurs, it can be added later.
One type of tile will include the service person’s name, branch of service, years served, which conflict/war they served in, if they were a prisoner of war and/or if the person was killed in action.
The second type will include this information, plus the veteran’s photo.
A third type — the website tile — will have the information and photograph along with a scan-able quick reference (QR) barcode that will link to the veteran’s own personal webpage, which can be updated with information and photographs for years to come.
“It’s basically a living tribute,” Madsen said.
Paper copies of the order forms can be found on the second floor of the city municipal building on Military Avenue, the Dodge County Courthouse and at several local banks.
“We’ve had a great response on the veterans’ tiles, but we have lots of room for many more,” Madsen said.
Donations for construction of the Veterans Memorial Park are being accepted. Checks should be made payable to Fremont Avenue of Flags, in care of Veterans Park. The checks can be mailed to: Fremont Avenue of Flags, Attn: Veterans’ Memorial Park, P.O. Box 532, Fremont, NE 68025. Donations also may be made via the park webpage.
Madsen said donations are tax deductible.
Names of all donors will be listed on the park webpage, no matter what their donation.
Those who donate $500 or more will be listed on a donor wall in the park as well as the website.
Madsen said a billboard requesting support for the veterans’ park with contact information is scheduled to go up on 23rd and Bell streets.
“We’re still forging ahead with the project,” Madsen said. “We’re going to meet our goals, but to do that we — the committee — are really looking forward to all the community to support it.”