Birth of a Vision
The vision for the Watertown Veterans Memorial started as a coffee time conversation between Laurel Foss, a Korean War Army Veteran, a recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and a member of the DAV and LeRoy Anderson, a 20 year Navy veteran from the Vietnam era and Commander of the DAV Chapter #6, back as far as 2003. The birth of the memorial began on a beverage napkin and was later enhanced by Laurel and his nephew Michael Foss from Arizona, who drafted the initial copy.
Foss and Anderson approached the Park and Rec. Dept., looking for land to build the Memorial. After a couple of rejections, the final location became the northwest corner of Stokes-Thomas City Park on the shore of Lake Kampeska. In 2004, Foss returned to Arizona and between he and his nephew, Michael, they drew the first full scale plans for the project with clearer images of what the memorial will look like.
Since that time Anderson and Foss formed a Veterans Memorial Committee, Lynn Johnson representing the VFW, J Maurice Redmond representing the American Legion, Ordean Bierman representing the Marine Corp League and Richard Stricherz a member of the DAV. Through the efforts of the Committee the project is moving forward. The ground breaking ceremony was September 2, 2005 at 2 p.m. at the Stokes-Thomas City Park. Mayor Paul Fox served as Master of Ceremonies.
Computer images were drawn using 17 - 4x4 foot 6inch slabs of Black Mist granite from quarries in Barre Vermont and St. Peters Pennsylvania. This was the arc created by our pie design. The arc consisted of 3 sections of 5 granite pieces with a single located on each side of the arc. One side of the two singles was reserved for Corporate donors while the other two sides were the dignitaries of the 2006 Dedication Ceremony and a prayer of a veteran saluting the flag. A globe designed and constructed by the LATI weld class will be placed in the center of the memorial. At the apex of the arc would be the U.S. and state flags.
Along the radii of the arc are service flags and veterans organization flags. The POW/MIA flag is just beyond the arc on the far side of the memorial where it has a chain attached going into the ground and coming up above ground and connect to the globe symbolizing that they will never be forgotten.
There are 19 strategically placed benches in and around the memorial that will provide a resting place for visitors throughout the memorial. These benches were sponsored by families and companies in support of the memorial.
The future is exciting for the memorial as we are adding a second wall to the rear of the first wall with enough room for approximately 3500 more names. We probably will add 4 - 6 more benches. The big surprise is the addition of a Army Cobra Helicopter to be installed and dedicated this year, 2013, between the memorial and South Lake Drive sitting on a 10ft. pedestal.
It is important to note that you do not have to be from the Watertown area to have your name engraved on the wall. You need to be honorably discharged upon serving a minimum of 90 days in the service to your country including the National Guard and Merchant Marines.
We invite everyone to come to Stokes-Thomas City Park on the shore of Lake Kampeska and visit our Memorial