While a Jefferson City committee looks toward modifying the display cases at the Veteran's Plaza, another local veterans group is planning to kick off a brick campaign.
Veteran's Plaza modifications
The "Walk of Honor" at the Veteran's Plaza, located north of the Jefferson City Police Department, consists of inscribed red bricks inside eight display cases. Each brick includes the veteran's name, branch of service, years of service and conflict.
Over the last few years, newly inscribed bricks have been placed in the walking surface near the base of the display cases since the cases are full, City Engineer David Bange told the Jefferson City Public Works and Planning Committee on Thursday.
The Veteran's Plaza Committee and city plan to modify the display cases to allow an additional row of bricks in each case. The board plans to move the bricks that are currently on the walking path to the display cases.
"A few years ago, we weren't too happy about bricks being on the walkway, on the ground," committee chairman Hal Dulle said. "They're not up on top. We need to show a little more respect for those veterans and move them to the top and reconfigure the tops. We don't want people walking on them."
The current cases hold about 1,500 bricks total, Bange said. Creating an additional row in each case would create about 450 additional spots.
Moving the 263 inscribed bricks on the ground to the case would leave nearly 190 available spots for future inscribed bricks, he said.
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The estimated cost of the project is $10,000, which will come from the Veteran's Plaza Trust Fund, Bange said. The fund goes toward construction, maintenance and repair of the Veteran's Plaza, as well as the purchase, engraving and installation of commemorative bricks.
The board places five to 10 new inscribed bricks in the memorial every year.
The Jefferson City Veterans Council will sponsor a brick initiative this month to encourage veterans to purchase bricks, Dulle said.
Residents can purchase commemorative bricks for $100 from the Jefferson City Public Works Department.
The commemorative brick applications are available at jeffersoncitymo.gov/live_play/veterans_plaza/index.php.
Veterans must present a U.S. Department of Defense form No. DD214 or other documentation showing their service and honorable discharge.
Active-duty military personnel may also purchase commemorative bricks if they are deployed overseas or have completed two years of active duty.
Veterans will have the option of purchasing bricks for the Veteran's Plaza, Freedom Corner — near the intersection of East High and East McCarty streets — or for both locations, Dulle said.
Bricks for Freedom Corner cost $100, said Jefferson City East Side Business Association President Hank Stratman. Veterans can purchase the bricks for Freedom Corner through the ESBA.
Dulle said he hopes to encourage veterans — particularly those who served during the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s and during the War on Terror, which started in 2001 — to purchase bricks. He wants more national guardsmen to purchase bricks too, especially since Jefferson City houses the National Guard Ike Skelton Training Site.
Family and friends can also purchase bricks to commemorate veterans who died.
"That would be a nice remembrance of a person's service to our country," Dulle said.
Veterans did not have to serve in a particular conflict to be eligible for a brick, he said, adding they had to serve during the time period of the conflict. They also do not have to be combat veterans in order to purchase a brick.
"A lot of people say, 'Well, I don't deserve a brick. I never went into combat,'" said Dulle, a Vietnam veteran. "Well, you don't have to go into combat. You just have to serve during that period of time.
"We had a lot of Vietnam veterans that didn't go to Vietnam. They stayed state-side or (in) Okinawa or Guam or some of the supporting groups. For every combat veteran we have, we have seven support people, whether it's transportation, supply, cooks, all of those people who have to support veterans. But a lot of people think they don't get recognition unless they serve in combat, and that's just not true."
If Veteran's Plaza gets enough bricks, Dulle and Bange said, the city and Veteran's Plaza Committee have discussed constructing four additional display cases that would allow for 704 more bricks total.
The Veteran's Plaza, created in 2006, contains not only the "Walk of Honor," but also the Korean and Vietnam Veteran's Memorial at the center of the memorial. The Korean and Vietnam Veteran's Memorial was dedicated in 1983.