FAIRMONT — The American Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial located in Fairmont, Neb. is still under construction, and there is still room for honoring a special veteran – no matter where they are from.

The memorial is being constructed to honor all the men and women throughout the United States who have honorably served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. The park was conceived of to cultivate public understanding of the sacrifices made by all Veterans and their families. Three walls will don the names of a donor’s loved one; so far, not quite one wall is full. The back of the walls will have etched military-related scenes; one hope is to depict the nearby Fairmont Airbase.

Significant progress has been made since the memorial’s inception about two years ago. Completed thus far are the concrete, blank walls, flag poles, electrical work, sprinklers and much of the landscaping. With winter approaching, outdoor work is at a temporary standstill, but the dream to honor all Veterans sustains.

While elements like the flags flying through the air are important, committee member Mary Lundberg said it’s those who are honored that matter – in addition to honoring their namesake, making the park itself possible. “For right now the tiles are the main source of income,” she said. “We can’t finish the walls without the tiles. Everything else is secondary.”

In early December, the committee is hosting a spaghetti feed and Quilts of Valor presentation to help offset the estimated $250,000 needed. “Even the small donations are big to us,” Lundberg said. “Any donation we receive we truly appreciate.” The committee is also waiting to hear the result of a few grant applications.

The American Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial committee wants to take information about the memorial to schools and other organizations. “We want to bring education into the project,” Lundberg said. Organizers have created a presentation for interested parties. If you or your group would like a American Freedom Defenders Veterans Memorial presentation, or would like more information, Lundberg can be contacted at mlundberg1@windstream.net. Order forms for a granite plaque recognizing your Veteran can be obtained at the Heartland Bank in Fairmont, Neb. Orders can also be mailed by contacting Cindy Slocum at (402)268-2361.

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