In spite of a threat of a rain storm, a large crowd gathered across from Railroad Park in Assumption Sunday to dedicate the new veterans memorial that was also a symbol of love and pride from the people of the small community.
The ceremony began with a presentation of the colors by the local American Legion and VFW posts accompanied by bagpiper Joe Rednour. The American flag was lowered to half mast and prayer and music were offered.
The memorial features six two-sided granite stones bearing more than 1,150 names of past and present veterans, ranging from the Civil War to the present. The center monument features a bronze cast eagle and the emblems of the different branches of service.
The bronze eagle was designed by Robert Donneville, art instructor at Mt. Zion schools.
“The eagle was to be etched in the stone but Bob said, ‘I just can’t get it out of my mind that the eagle should be bronze. Assumption veterans deserve a Wow!’,” said Jim Bugg, was the main speaker at the ceremony.
Bugg also commended the work of Norman and Jeri Bethard who gathered the names that were carved into the stones.
“You don’t understand the work that goes into getting these names together,” Bugg told the crowd.
Fundraising for the monument began in 2012. By Memorial Day 2013 the committee had more than $100,000 donated. None of the money came from any government body or grants.
“We had to stop asking for money, but there were still people giving us money,” Bugg said. “Today we still have about $7,000 in the bank which will be used for landscaping and maintenance of the site.”
“Our veterans behind us cry out to us, ‘please don’t forget us’. With this monument, we will not forget,” he concluded.
Wreaths were laid at the memorial by representatives of the American Legion and VFW posts and Ladies Auxiliary of Assumption. A 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps” concluded the ceremony.