ALLEN COUNTY — The Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation (ACVMF) has revealed the preliminary designs for the planned Allen County War Memorial.
Consisting of a series of circular memorials honoring Allen County residents killed in each American war connected by shaded pathways, foundation president Dave Paxton said the goal of its design is to provide a unique experience for each visitor and set a tone of reverence and awe for the sacrifice Allen County residents have made in service to the country.
“The biggest thing that we’re concerned about, we want to build a war memorial that people didn’t just drive by,” Paxton said.
Instead, the memorial would have the option to evolve for future generations if necessary and stay relevant if the United States entered new conflicts, Paxton said. To follow that vision, some of the initial designs have been reworked and combined to create an extensive memorial where visitors can read the stories and see the faces of Allen County men and women who have died in the armed forces.
A two-acre site at the northeast corner of State Route 117 and Bowman Road has been set as the location of the new monument, and as preliminary engineering and design work is finalized, fundraising for its construction can begin in earnest. The ACVMF organized a golf outing Saturday to raise over $10,000 to fund design and engineering work.
“I think its a good legacy and preserves the past for future generations and helps young people appreciate and understand that war is a terrible thing and we need to strive for peace whenever possible,” Larry Blunden said.
Larry’s brother Jack had been killed in World War II near Luzon in the Philippines when a Japanese kamikaze destroyed the landing ship he stood upon. Jack had been 23-years-old at the time.
Barbara Risner was 15 when her eldest brother, John Hale, Jr., was killed in Vietnam while leading his patrol at the age of 19.
“He was our hero,” Risner said. “He helped us all, and we’re always thinking about what could have been, how many kids, how many grandkids, how our lives could have been different.
“I think for one thing, long after I’m gone and my family is gone, his sacrifice and his memory will still be there for generations at this memorial. It’s important to me that he’s never ever forgotten.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.