A dedication ceremony was appropriately held on Armed Forces Day for the Stockton Veterans Memorial at the Stockton Lake project office. This day paid and ceremony tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces and was a great opportunity for all to express their gratitude, admiration, and support to the men and women who have answered the noble call of service to their country.
Deputy Area Engineer from the Missouri Area Office of the Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maj. Steven Lanni spoke at the dedication.
“This great event is a testament that the citizens in and around the city of Stockton recognize and honor the contributions and sacrifices of those who serve this great nation.” said Lanni.
The Memorial Park demonstrates the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the Stockton Lake Project's ability to foster cooperation and enhance relationships with local communities.
The Veterans Memorial Park is great example of how we work with local entities to enhance our partnerships to foster cooperation and enhance district, regional and national goals and objectives, said Rich Chiles, Operations Project Manager at the Stockton Project.
According to Don Hunt, Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park committee, the City of Stockton was gifted a panel from The Wall That Heals, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Stockton Park Board invited interested veterans to attend a meeting to discuss what to do with the panel.
The 16-person committe of volunteers consisted of a mix of veterans and non-veterans who worked together to develope the plan. "Everybody worked their tails off! Our challenge was to find an appropriate location to properly display this panel and agreed that this location is very appropriate!” said Hunt.
The members of the committee worked hard to raise funds since they were established more than two years ago. WIth their only source of income from donations, they held dinners sponsored by different local restaurants, raffles, garage sales, fish fries, bake sales, auctions, concrete donations, brick/paver sales, to name a few.
"We owe a huge thank you to the community for all your support," said Hunt.
Highlights of the wall include:
The West wall contains the Pledge of Allegiance. It isn't quite finished yet, but will include a list of donors, Business and Organization recognition, and the Veterans Memorial Park Committee members' names.
The South wall holds the panel from The Wall That Heals. This panel is #15-16W, and the killed in action dates are October 1969 through February 1970. Some additions will be made to this wall before it is completed, and nearby is a special separate area identifying the POW-MIAs as well as a bench, a monument and a kneeling Soldier which has a very special meaning for all veterans.
The East wall contains the emblems of the Armed Services along with the POW-MIA and Purple Heart emblems. This area of the pavilion also consists of commemorative brick pavers.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is proud to be members of this partnership and the greater Stockton community with our shared desire to honor all those who have served and is pleased to host this memorial.” said Lanni.