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Examiner
  • Veterans Way Memorial dedication is Tuesday

  • Almost three years ago, 50,000 people visited Blue Springs for one purpose – to see "The Wall That Heals" display. The half-scale replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., included the names of 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

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  • Almost three years ago, 50,000 people visited Blue Springs for one purpose – to see "The Wall That Heals" display. The half-scale replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., included the names of 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
    Among those who visited the memorial were 2,000 veterans. After it left Blue Springs after the four-day event, Eleanor Frasier, Veterans Way Memorial chair, was struck by how many expressed their interest in having a permanent exhibit. What came after those discussions was the Veterans Way Memorial.
    “They came to us and said they would like to have a permanent memorial to come back to,” she said. “But they thought it should be for all veterans. So we took up their call to arms.”
    The community is invited to the dedication of the Veterans Way Memorial at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Pink Hill Park, 2715 Park Hill Road. The ceremony will be unique in that instead of speakers, every major war will be honored and introduced through music.
    “We searched for a way to make this a moving experience for those who come to the dedication,” Frasier said. “The program should express the wars, but we wanted to do this through music. We are using music as the basis for describing these events.”
    The memorial sits at the site where “The Wall That Heals” was exhibited in fall 2010. The idea is to serve as a place for reflection for veterans, veterans’ families and the community, while also serving as a site to educate students about the historical significance of the wars that have been fought by Americans.
    At the center of the memorial is a sculpture entitled “Restless Recovery” by artist Beth Nybeck. The sculpture was actually part of a temporary art exhibit in 2010 and was on display during “The Wall That Heals” event. Two committee members, Ron and Carolyn Gordanier, were visiting the memorial just before sunrise. As the sun rose over the horizon, Frasier said the sun struck the sculpture, creating a “bright light.”
    “It looked like a flame,” she said. “They (the Gordaniers) came to the committee and thought we should have the art piece because it was so dramatic. It just seemed so right.”
    Because the organizing committee felt like the sculpture needed to be higher, a pedestal was designed. The sculpture now sits on top of it with the words “For Those Who Served.” Surrounding the sculpture are three flag poles and flags that were flown over “The Walls That Heals” exhibit. Granite benches sit in a semi-circle formation around the pedestal and five bronze seals with the armed forces logos are embedded in the concrete plaza. Trees, shrubs and flowers complete the memorial grounds. The Veterans Way Memorial was funded through private donations.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I think my favorite part of the memorial is the pedestal ‘For Those Who Served.’ That is what the Veterans Way Memorial is all about,” Frasier said. “I hope that this will become some place that brings consolation for veterans who stop by. They can visit this place and recall the camaraderie and patriotism for their country. Students can also come and use it to learn about our history and the effects wars had on our nation.”
    The dedication program will include Retired Col. Don Ballard, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient; Lake City Army Ammunition Plant LTC Lawrence Cannon; Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps from both Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools; and several veteran groups. Malena Marcase, a student at Blue Springs High School and winner of last year's Sing! Blue Springs, and the Circuit Riders will provide musical renditions that observe the music of each war era.
    For more information, contact Eleanor Frasier at 816-655-0490 or visit the memorial’s website at www.bluespringswallthatheals.net.

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