A project is underway to refurbish the Saline County War Memorial in Sunset Park.
A veteran’s committee was formed in 2018. Because of the pandemic the effort stalled. It is again moving forward, and among other things for the first time in over 20 years memorial bricks will be again be available to purchase.
Ben Vidricksen II is helping to spearhead the project. He offered KSAL News some details following the Memorial Day ceremony in Salina.
A Salina Saline County War Memorial group was formed in 1992 to recognize and remember the war dead of Saline County and all those that serve their country. A monument was constructed in Salina’s Sunset Park featuring an eight-sided concrete monolith with giant bronze plaques. Paving bricks with inscribed veteran’s names outlined the walkways and was known as the “Walk of Honor”.
The memorial was dedicated to the City of Salina in 1994 to be maintained by the Salina Parks and Recreation. After completion of the project the Salina Saline County War Memorial Inc. filed dissolution papers with the IRS and the not-for-profit organization disbanded.
Twenty-four years later, a new committee re-instated the original 501(c)(3) status to operate again as a non-profit organization allowing citizens to purchase inscribed bricks to honor additional veterans. An expansion of the memorial to the east and west was necessary.
The Salina Saline County War Memorial, Inc. will be a perpetual organization to continue honoring veterans into the distant future.
The previous committee documented Saline County military servicemen deaths from the Civil War in 1861 to the Persian Gulf War ending in 1992. Citizens purchased bricks as part of fundraising that were used to outline the walkways. The brick walkway with inscribed lettering of Veteran’s names became known as the “Walk of Honor”.
Continued interest in purchasing bricks and the need to continue documentation of further wars and conflicts into the future made expansion of the memorial site necessary.
The new design features a symmetrical addition to the East and West of the original monument. Eight-sided concrete benches with joining walkways will provide plenty of seating. Black granite panels above the seats complete the octagon structures which resemble the original monument. Documentation of military actions or other pertinent historical events will be etched on the granite panels. Many of the panels will be blank as well as the bricks along the walkways leaving the opportunity to add inscriptions many decades from now.
Vidricksen said the city has approved the initial plans. The group will in the near future launch a public information and fund raising campaign.
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Photo via Salina Saline County War Memorial group