Some of you may be aware that on Memorial Day weekend 2011 we marked the rededication of the Memorial Oaks Veteran's memorial on the Simon Kenton campus. Many people don’t know it, but the four oak trees standing between Simon Kenton and Kenton Elementary were part of thirteen trees planted as a tribute to World War II veterans from Simon Kenton, Independence and Piner high schools, particularly the thirteen alumni that made the ultimate sacrifice. In addition to rededicating the site, the ceremony marked the kick-off of fundraising efforts to build an expanded memorial at the site. The new memorial will not only recognize the service of all of our Southern Kenton County veteran’s, but also our local first responders. I particularly love the fact that this memorial will be located on our high school campus to remind our young people of the honor of service to your nation and community. The memorial has been deliberately designed to be an area for students to congregate and for teachers to teach classes in on nicer days, as well as a place for local residents to visit. These efforts are being led by veteran and retired teacher, Mr. Bill Schneider and our local American Legion, Moon Brothers Post 275. Preliminary plans for the memorial can be viewed at the website: www.memorialoaks.org .
As a newly elected city council member, I was asked to join the planning committee late last year. I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with local veteran’s, police officers, firefighters, county officials and fellow Independence Business Association members in helping plan the memorial, the rededication ceremony and fundraising efforts. While larger corporate sponsorships will be accepted, the majority of the estimated $100,000+ project cost is expected to be raised through the sale of engraved brick pavers. We will offer pavers at a discounted price of $40 (4”x8”) and $80 (8”x8”) through The Fourth of July, at which point they will go to their regular price of $50 and $100, respectively. The pavers offer the community a wide variety of ways to show their support for our local heroes, both veterans and first responders. You can simply list your name or your family name to show your support. Buy a paver and have it engraved with the name of a friend or family member that served in the armed forces, or as a first responder to show them you are aware of and appreciate their service. Why not list the name of a future veteran, someone you know who’s in the service now? Maybe you want to list the name(s) of one of our local firefighters or police officers that helped you. There are all kinds of ways to make a lasting contribution to the brave and honorable service of all of these folks. You also may just want to memorialize your own local hero like a teacher, friend or neighbor.
The architect tells us that we have room for about 5,000 of the smaller pavers (or half that in the large ones). In looking at fundraising estimates, they tell us to hope for 25% to 50% of those being sold. I don’t believe that. I believe that we can fill that plaza with engraved pavers. I believe this community that so heartily embraces the name Independence by turning out for Memorial Day events, by holding a two day celebration over the Fourth of July, by flying our flags regularly, even by choosing patriotic names for many of our streets and subdivisions, I believe that my fellow citizens of Independence truly understand what patriotism is and truly understand and appreciate those people that give us our… independence.
If you are interested in purchasing a paver you can go to the website at www.memorialoaks.org, contact the American Legion, Moon Brothers Post 275 at (859) 429-0750 or www.moonbrothers275.org or contact me, at email@example.com, or through the city building at 859-356-5302.
Thank you for your support,