Volunteers and vets sing ‘God Bless America near the newly landscaped monument. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).
On Tuesday, the 23rd Ward WWI and WWI War monument on Sandusky Street received a makeover just in time for Flag Day 2012.
The monument was once a point of contention for local veterans who felt that its location didn’t do the Northside soldiers it honored justice, however after landscaping done by Pipitone Group volunteers, a grant from the Elks and donations from the American Legion and the City, all parties present at the rededication this week praised the monument’s new appearance.
The monument was moved to the corner of Sandusky and S. Commons streets nine years ago, and created uproar among Northside Veterans last fall who felt the new location was disrespectful and asked that it be returned to its original location in Cedar Avenue.
“If you want to see it now, you have to go find it… It should be back where it belongs,” Adam Antczak, a 23rd Ward WWII Veteran whose name is engraved on the memorial, said in November.
Though the monument will not be moved as was originally requested by vets, the Elks received a $1,000 grant from their national chapter, a new flag from the American Legion and a spotlight from the City so the flag can be flown day and night.
“It looked very empty compared to how it looks now,” said Joe Brown, who noted what a great improvement Tuesday’s volunteers made.
In addition to the light, flag and grant, the Elks also received help from 32 employees from the Observatory Hill marketing company Pipitone Group who volunteered their time and landscaped the area around the monument
“They’ve had this project picked out for a while, but they didn’t have the arms and legs to do it,” said Pipitone Group owner Scott Pipitone who contacted the Northside Leadership Conference looking for a volunteer project.
NSLC Executive Director Mark Fatla directed Pipitone to the monument project and coordinated between the two groups. At the planning on Tuesday, Fatla said the cooperation made it an “exceptional day on the Northside.”
City Council President Darlene Harris honored the volunteers and Elks with a City proclamation recognizing their work and a personal anecdote about the monument.
“I’m really happy because as a little girl I use to stare up and look at this when it was on Cedar Avenue,” said City Council President Darlene Harris. “It’s really important to me because my father is on there.”