Saturday, November 12, 2011
"The outpouring of support here has just been more than I could've fathomed," said Phil Blake, World War II veteran and organizer of the project.
Blake was moved by the hundreds of people who attended the special dedication ceremony for a memorial he had envisioned for years.
"I headed the operation up and said we are going to do it. If you say that loudly enough and believe it enough, it happens," said Blake.
The first organizing meeting was held last year in October. On July 9th, the group broke ground for the memorial at Veterans Memorial Park. Organizers said they dedicated the memorial today with the help of the community, with over $80,000 raised and 700 memorial bricks purchased.
"Our original target date was Dec. 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, and I was not necessarily optimistic about that. But the response of the community says it all," said Ted Ayres, chairman of the World War II Memorial Inc.
The community withstood the strong winds to see the flag wave proudly and see a memorial dedicated to the "greatest generation."
"I think it means so much to the community, to the country really, certainly to this group of men and women who serve so valiantly during that period of time," said Ayres.
The new memorial helps tie together the eight other memorials related to World War II at the Veterans Memorial Park.
"This is an unusual memorial. I never thought about what it would look like 'til I actually saw it. I can see that the memorial will be there for quite a while.
People of all ages now have a memorial honoring all World War II veterans. It was something that Blake said he still wished could have came sooner.
"We've lost a number of [veterans] since then. I look at their obituaries in the paper and I say, 'Gee, I wish they could've been here to share this with us,'" said Blake.
Bricks can still be donated to a World War II service person by emailing for a form to email@example.com. Bricks are a $100 donation to Kilroy Project.