Help for memorial ship project would be appreciated


With thoughts of Veterans Day still fresh in our minds, I do hope that everyone took a meditating moment to thank the vets and their families for their many sacrifices. It has been through their efforts that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. We are truly indebted to each one. 

A special “Thank You” to the SDSU Arnold Air Society for its annual 24-hour marching vigil at the Brookings County Veterans Memorial. What a tribute they create! 

For the moment my thoughts are going back to World War II that involved our community. After a number of visits with folks in our area, I discovered that the fact that a ship had been named after Brookings County was a well kept secret. 

Our government contracted a ship builder to construct 100 amphibious vessels in preparation for the invasion of the Japanese islands. 

There are more than 3,000 counties in our nation, and Brookings County was fortunate enough to be one of the 100. 

This was based according to our war effort, consisting of collecting scrap iron, waste paper and even cooking grease used for making explosives. Also many bought large quantities of war bonds. 

Several years ago I initiated a proposal to create a memorial to our ship. 

I proceeded to make a scale model depicting a black granite wall 7 feet high and 20 feet long, with a detailed outline engraved into the surface. It also included a separate identification monument, flag pole, park bench, and stainless steel railing. The inner 4 feet of the concrete apron would be treated with a blue tinted epoxy coating, so the ship would appear to be resting in water. A lectern would be located at the entrance displaying a brass plaque listing the ship’s history. 

Initially, I proposed that this display be located at the very south end of our Vets Memorial grounds, but the committee rejected the site, stating that it exemplified the Navy over the other branches of service. My motivation was to honor those of our area that had worked tirelessly to aid the war effort. I was in the process of finding a new location, which could be in Pioneer Park at the very northwest corner at the intersection of Western Avenue and Sixth Street. Just an idea. 

At that time I was involved in an accident that has put me on the permanent inactive list. The reason for this letter is hopefully to generate enough interest in our community to ultimately see it through to completion. 

To me, we owe it to our WWII generation to give them the recognition they so earnestly deserve. This would be a golden opportunity for any one of our clubs to take this on as a civic project. 

Please give this request serious thought and help it become a reality that the community could be proud of. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to contact me.