TERRE HAUTE —
“Until they all come home” are the words written on the concrete floor clearly visible to workers and onlookers as part of the centerpiece to the new Montezuma Veterans Memorial that was set in place Wednesday afternoon at Aztec Park in Parke County.
An 8,300-pound circular piece of concrete was moved into place in the middle of the memorial, which will serve as the base for a 400-pound bronze sculpture, both designed by famous Wabash Valley artist and Parke County native Bill Wolfe.
Wolfe said he wanted to “create something that would honor veterans down through the ages.”
He also said this is the first design he has done that does not incorporate a statue figure of a person.
The concrete base features sketches of soldiers and artillery to give a visual representation of wars fought throughout the nation’s history, from the Revolutionary War to the modern-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. flag will fly in the middle of the bronze sculpture of an M1 rifle, an airplane propeller, a sword and a sea anchor, representing the different branches of the military.
“It’s going to be an icon in our county,” said Diana Bartlow, who is the town council’s representative to the park board.
The centerpiece of this iconic memorial will be surrounded by six concrete medallions for the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and POW/MIA. Flags representing each branch of military service and the State of Indiana will also fly around the centerpiece. A brick path, with names of veterans and other supporters, leads to the memorial.
The organizers and builders want to honor all veterans.
One such veteran is Bud Lohrmann, who was one of the onlookers as the concrete base was set in place.
“I think it will be an asset to the community,” said Lohrmann, a Korean war veteran whose brothers also served in the Navy.
“I think it’s proper … because so many of them (veterans) are forgotten,” he said.
Josh Allen, another Montezuma resident, expressed gratitude to these forgotten heroes.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the veterans,” Allen said, as he stood watching with his nephew.
The idea of a veterans memorial in Montezuma was conceived at the request of resident and veteran Tom Huffman “to recognize local veterans,” Bartlow said.
“The basic idea started out as a rock,” she said.
It was to be a simple rock for the memorial, but as others in the community became involved, it became a more elaborate project.
Bartlow said the Montezuma Veterans Memorial was made possible with the help of a number of community groups. In addition, community members involved with the construction have ties with Montezuma and Parke County.
“They want to be part of their hometown and the legacy that we leave,” Bartlow said.
One of them is Wolfe, who said he donated his time and talent because it was “something I wanted to do for my home county.”
Wolfe has designed other veterans memorials in Indiana and on the East Coast.
“Because of my previous work, I thought I [could] help them out,” he said.
Other local businesses were also involved. CGM Precast poured the concrete base and F.T. Moore & Sons Inc., a Terre Haute-based company, sandblasted and stained the sketches on the concrete base.
Indianapolis-based Sincerus Bronze Art Studio cast the bronze sculpture.
Construction started three years ago on the memorial, which cost $30,000, Bartlow said.
The money was raised through grants, donated materials and fundraising efforts. The sale of 300 bricks at $50 a piece also helped fund the memorial.
“For the idea to begin as a rock then turn into something like this is overwhelming,” Bartlow said.
“We’re proud of our little town,” she added.
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for noon on July 4 at Aztec Park.
Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Veterans Memorial Dedication
• Noon on July 4 at Aztec Park,