Quality of Life
A crowd estimated at 1,200 people attended the Veteran's Memorial dedication event in downtown Viroqua on Sept. 11, 2004. Viroqua native Colonel Mark Lee, retired Air Force officer and NASA astronaut, gave the formal dedication.
The effort toward building a veterans memorial in Viroqua began in the early months of 2001 when a committee was formed to create the design, find an appropriate location and raise funds to construct the memorial. Viroqua's long-storied contribution to armed services in the United States was the driving force behind the memorial. Support for the project grew, and in all, the committee raised more than $182,000 in donations and also received numerous in-kind donations from local individuals and businesses.
The memorial features a semi-circle of black granite markers with the engraved names of veterans and the eras in which they served. The committee had anticipated having about 3,000 names on the memorial, but has seen that number increase to 3,944. Besides the granite markers, the memorial also includes a striking "Icon of Peace" at the entrance. This icon is a 4,300-pound polished black granite globe that sits on an 8,000-pound granite base. The globe is raised off the base by water, which allows the globe to spin slowly. As the globe spins on the water, anyone standing nearby can touch the globe and stop it from spinning. The granite sphere is 48 inches in diameter. With the base, the entire Icon of Peace stands 5 feet tall.
Members of the committee's board of directors include: Chet Lee, chairman; Robert Suhr, vice chairman; Kathy Buros, secretary; Sheila Olson, treasurer; Gary Monson; Kenneth Hayes; and Raymond "Butch" Lewison. Other committee members include: Gary Krause, Leon Mellem, Betty Bolton, Tom Jacobson, Roland "Rollie" Hill, Bill Bross, Duane Hoff, Eleanor Oftedahl and David Herried.
Anyone interested in donating to the Veteran's Memorial can send their contributions to: The Viroqua Area Veteran's Memorial Fund, P. O. Box 142, Viroqua, WI, 54665.
For more information on the project or about donations contact Chet Lee at 637-3990.