By Sharon Coy
Blade Staff Writer
Cloud County veterans killed at war will never be forgotten.
A new addition to the Eternal Flame Memorial at the northwest corner of the Courthouse, which will be dedicated on Memorial Day, lends assurance to this claim.
This addition is a memorial wall consisting of four 3 ft. x 2 ft. granite panels bearing the names of every Cloud Countian killed in wartime from World War I to Vietnam. Room also is included for future names should the need arise.
A center panel has the insignia of each branch of service at the top and a soldier kneeling at a cross beside the American flag with "Dedicated to those of Cloud County who died for our country" engraved above the flag.
The idea for this memorial stemmed from a conversation between two Cloud Countians, Don Courville and Ross Doyen who discussed the need for such a memorial. The Eternal Flame Memorial, dedicated in November 1968, honors Cloud County veterans both living and dead. However, it only has a brief message and no display of names of veterans who died in wars defending our country.
When Courville, a Korean War veteran and lifetime American Legion member, took a bus trip to Washington, D.C., he said he was impressed by the memorials to deceased veterans that he saw there. This encouraged him to propose such a project for Cloud County.
A presentation to Cloud County commissioners and request for Wind Farm Gift Fund money that was turned down did not deter him. With the financial help of Cloud County service organizations and their auxiliaries and various individuals, funds for the memorial were raised.
Courville talked with LeDuc Memorial Designs employees, Troy and Missy LeDuc, who designed the memorial. He said they were extremely helpful and donated a lot to the project including a granite bench which is engraved with the words, "Never forgotten."
Courville made necessary corrections and updates to the list of names of veterans killed in war which is on display at the American Legion Post Home. Engraved on the panels are the names of 31 veterans from World War I, 79 from World War II, 11 from Korea and three from Vietnam.
VFW Auxiliary Americanism chairman Vicki Roberts assisted with the project wherever needed, including helping with fundraising, planting flowers at the memorial site and planning the dedication ceremony.
Courville estimated he spent approximately two years on the memorial from its inception to completion.
Speaking at the Memorial Day and dedication ceremony which starts at 11 a.m. will be State Sen. Elaine Bowers and American Legion 6th District Commander Darren McMullen. Kenneth Johnston, Ken Jones and Tim Halfhide will be singing "America, the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner" and Patrick Sieben will play Taps.
Dave Hazelwood, Concordia American Legion post commander will give opening remarks and American Legion post chaplain Joe Kuchera will deliver a prayer. Firing squad members will be Bill Valcoure, Harry Morrison Jr. and Pat Ketterer.