Shawnee High School Planning Veterans Wall

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By Nick Hausen

WOLF LAKE -- Bald Cypress trees line the front drive of Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake, and soon the empty space under the trees may be home to a new veterans memorial wall.

"You can't show enough appreciation," said Charles Burdick. "You can never show enough."

Burdick chairs the committee planning the memorial and is a veteran himself. He explains the project will honor everyone within the district who's served in the military, both the living and the fallen heroes.

"We lost in World War II here in Grand Tower, in this little town, we lost seven people in World War II I believe it was," explained Burdick. "The ones that died in World War II represented all the branches of service."

The committee doesn't want to leave out any veterans which means there will be a lot of names on the wall. The district spans parts of Jackson, Union, and Alexander Counties.

"It's going to be a lot of ground work, even plan on going through all the old cemeteries," said school board member Mike Ellet. "Anybody we can find with ties to the district, we want to get their name and get them honored."

Currently there is a lot of space in front of the high school where  the veterans memorial may go. Ellet says it's important that it's visible to everyone that visits the high school.

"Students are going to be coming past that," explained Ellet. "At some point, curiosity is going to get the better of some of them that really don't have any kind of nationalism or patriotism or pride and maybe they go over there and see a few names and maybe they say, 'hey, I know that guy'."

Ellet hopes that simple realization will lead to a better understanding of their heritage and community.

The committee is relying on donations to pay for the memorial and volunteers to build it. There's no timetable in place; the committee says it may take several years to raise the money.

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