Friday, September 14, 2007

Purple Heart Memorial - Grand Rapids Michigan Gets a Unique National Monument

On Saturday September 15, 2007 at 10:00 am the veterans and citizens of the city of Grand Rapids Michigan will dedicate a brand new, Veteran's monument in Veteran's Park.

This monument is unique in several distinctive ways:

It is the first national memorial monument in the city.
It honors all recipients of the Purple Heart medal,
in all branches of service to the United States and all campaigns they were asked to serve.
It is the only memorial to be engraved on both sides.
It was designed by the Lamoreaux chapter (91) of Purple Heart Veterans.
It was funded by and for Purple Heart Veterans.
The driving force behind the effort to add this monument to Grand Rapid's Veteran's Park was Mr. Don Kramer, U.S.N. (Ret) of the Lamoreaux chapter of the Purple Heart Vets. His tireless effort to ensure that all his fellow wounded combat veteran's received the recognition they deserve in perpetuity, was not without challenge from several surprising sources. Mayor Hartwell believed this monument would be more appropriately placed at the Veteran's Home on Coit, far away from Veteran's Park in the central city. Don Kramer and many others disagreed.

The committee of veterans who designed this monument had some pretty specific symbols and message they wanted this piece to convey. Susan Cheslek, is the artist responsible for weaving together all the elements of this unique Purple Heart memorial. Susan's meticulous attention to detail, from the proper uniform on George Washington, to the placement of the message the combat wounded wish to convey, exemplifies the American Patriot. She was a little camera shy as they shrouded the monument however, she was not shy in expressing her passion for "getting it right". We join with the combat wounded and her fellow Grand Rapidians in saying to her;
"Thank You for a job well done, mission accomplished!"

We would also like to acknowledge Rapid Concrete and it's owner Rick Freiburger.
Thank you for your donation of time and material which gives this wonderful memorial it's firm foundation in Veteran's Park. Rick Freiburger is the son of Don Freiburger, U.S.N. (Ret), a World War II veteran.

Join your fellow Grand Rapidians at Veteran's Park on Saturday, to give these wounded warriors your heartfelt; "Thanks for Your Service!"

While you are there, look for this car and this guy.

The car is the Lamoreaux chapter (91) car and is driven by Don Kramer. Tell him "Thanks", and watch him grin.

For more photos of the shrouding and dedication, see the Flickr collection of WBF 8)

To see other Purple Heart Memorials, see this collection purple heart"purple heart" @Technorati.

Purple Heart Veterans can be found @Technorati here purple heart veterans"purple heart veterans"

For more on Veterans, jump to veterans"veterans"