Celebrating The Birth of The SF Veterans Memorial
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Members of Rochester’s Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial Committee held a special event at the site Saturday under a sunny sky with temperatures around 80 degrees - the same weather conditions on the same date 20 years ago when the idea for the memorial was hatched.
The committee decided to observe the 20th anniversary of what it called the “birth” of the memorial. It was on June 25, 1995 when several of those who would later form a memorial committee were honoring the 173rd Airborne Brigade, a military unit adopted by the city during the Vietnam War. The unit held its annual reunion in Rochester in June 1995 and it coincided with Rochesterfest. The members were honored as they took part in the Rochesterfest parade. A plan to honor the 173rd with a special plaque evolved into plans for the Veterans Memorial and a committee was formed in October 1995.
Groundbreaking for the memorial was held in June 1997 and it was dedicated three years later.
The memorial - currently valued at $6 million - was constructed without tax funding and led to similar projects around Minnesota and the country.
Memorial President Wayne Stillman says plans are being made to expand the site to include the recent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most recent conflict that is a part of the memorial also involved Iraq.
It was called Operation Desert Storm.