WWII Memorial May be Part of Coal Dock Project

City gets pillar donated and is now fast tracking plans to get memorial up by Veteran's Day.

Port Washington leaders said Tuesday they're planning to build a World War II memorial in the new Coal Dock project on the city’s lakefront.

Ald. Joe Dean said planners for the project want to erect a replica of the Wisconsin pillar from the national World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., which will be placed between a main and side walkway at the Coal Dock.

"We found veterans just flock to this part of the memorial and have their pictures taken," Dean said. "(W)e toured the Coal Dock area and couldn’t think of a better place to put this."

Dean said the offer to get the pillar came from a Madison company during the sold-out premier of the "Stars and Stripes Honor Flight" documentary that took place at Miller Park earlier this year. The pillar is also a thank you from the Honor Flight organization to the city because of its success in helping the film project proceed.

"Frankly, we’ve been the most successful hub in the city," Dean said.

The memorial will also include a replica star used to represent those who served in the war and it will be placed in an area that on 11:11 a.m. on Veteran’s Day, it will be under a shadow.

Project planners are also looking to sell bricks to help pay for the project and they hope to open it in time for Veterans Day. He said people are already inquiring about buying bricks to finance the project and a lot of momentum is moving the project ahead.

"We really want to capture that momentum and get it done," Dean said.  

While leaders expressed an overall support for the plan, Ald. James Vollmar questioned if the project will also incorporate honors for those who served in other wars in an effort to show appreciation for their military service.

"We have these other wars and in fact still fighting one, a unit from Wisconsin just left for Afghanistan," he said. "I really feel that it would be appropriate to include all of that on this single monument."

Dean said planners want to start concrete work no later than Oct. 12 in order to complete the memorial in time for Veterans Day, so leaders will schedule a plan commission and special Common Council meeting for Oct. 11 to give approval for the project, which will allow for work to begin the same day.

Mayor Tom Miada expressed support for the project and also said some people who may be looking at the project from a war perspective, should remember this is a way to honor those who served.  

"I think in terms of it being a pillar of honor, this truly is for us paying homage to the greatest generation," he said. 

Howard Hinterthuer October 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Just a few thoughts from a vet. Seems to me calling it a "War Memorial" misses the point. Isn't it more about remembering the sacrifices made to achieve peace and security for all? Second thing, and this may be a delicate subject: I know the WWII folks have been called "The Greatest Generation," and I agree that the menace they faced and overcame was genuinely a threat to all we hold dear and Holy, but service members and citizens of all generations have made the ultimate sacrifice, even when our national purpose hasn't been clear. Are those people in some way less great or noble? I don't believe that. I have witnessed acts of heroism no less worthy of recognition by any standard. Let's make a memorial to all. Please.


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