A Fitting Tribute

Replacing Madison veterans memorial corrects name issues

Local Veterans Council to dedicate
new monument July 4

(June 2017) – Sadly, there was a name of a Madison, Ind., veteran missing from the monument honoring fallen heroes from our nation’s wars. There was a good enough reason for the omission. The veteran, Indiana National Guard Specialist John Menke, 22, was killed in the Persian Gulf on Aug. 4, 2008 – long after the monument was placed on the Jefferson County (Ind.) Courthouse lawn.
The Jefferson County Veterans Council decided to solve the problem by replacing the monument.

Photo by John Sheckler

From left, Larry Jones, chairman of the Jefferson County Veterans Council, and council treasurer Allen Manning are pictured at the site of the new monument installation on the Jefferson County (Ind.) Courthouse lawn.

“The council was formed in 1984 to support Disabled American Veterans vans that provide rides for veterans to hospitals and clinics,” said Council Chairman Larry Jones of Madison. “Our mission is to support Jefferson County veterans and their families in need. We decided to take on the monument mission.”
There were other problems with the existing monument.
“Some names on the old monument were not spelled properly,” Jones said. “There were also a few missing. We wanted to bring accuracy to the monument.”
The group is a 501c3 nonprofit entity, so members hope to collect donations to cover the cost of the new monument.
“Besides the Stand Down event that started last year, this is only our second major project,” said Jones.
The first Stand Down was held in June 2016 as a way to provide services such as health care, housing assistance and employment to veterans, especially those who may be homeless.
The 2017 Stand Down will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, at the American Legion Post No. 9 hall. All veterans and dependent families are welcome.
“We are planning a pretty good dedication for the monument,” Jones said. The guest speaker will be James M. Brown, who was appointed Director of Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.”
The dedication is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 4, on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn. There will be an honor guard from the American Legion. Decendants of the fallen veterans will place flower wreaths at each section of the monument honoring veterans from World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict and the Vietnam war.

Photo by Larry Jones

County workers remove the old veterans monument from the Jefferson County (Ind.) Courthouse lawn in May to make way for a new monument that has a correct and complete listing of fallen heroes.

The monument is an expensive project, and veterans council members don’t want to drain money from their other projects, especially the medical van project. So they are canvassing businesses with the hope to recover some of the project cost.
Some of the cost of the project was higher because the group wanted the stone from an American quarry. Foreign stone is cheaper, even with shipping costs, but they selected stone for the monument that was quarried in Vermont.
“The project started when “we were approached by a vet who had served in the Persian Gulf.
The only place to add the name was on the back, and we did not feel that was appropriate,” said Veterans Council Secretary-Treasurer Allen Manning. “Because of the errors and a few missing names, we decided to move forward. We also found names on the monument who died while in military service but whose death was not war related.”

Photo by Larry Jones

An employee at Batesville Casket in Batesville, Ind., etches the names onto the new veterans monument that will soon be erected on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn.

Some names were removed because they were not from Jefferson County, but rather from Scott and Switzerland counties. These names were already on monuments in those counties.
“We were very diligent in our search,” said Manning. “It is easier to search today because there are so many digital records.”
“The monument space will be bigger than the old monument,” Manning said. “We wanted to make it a space where people can come have a seat and reflect.”
“We are designing the monument to have open space for names from some unfortunate future conflict,” Manning added. “Another missing name was Dewer McDonough from the Merchant Marines in World War II. We also have a young lady, Emily Rea, on the monument who was in the Red Cross. We felt it was respectable to leave her there. She served for the same purpose. She was flying home from England for leave when the plane crashed.”

• Those interested in donating to the monument fund can send a check to P.O. Box 302, Hanover, IN 47243. They should address the letter to the Jefferson County Veterans Council, and put the word monument in the memo space. For more information, visit the Jefferson County Veteran’s Council Facebook page.

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