Central Wisconsin will soon remember the forgotten war. Workers are pouring concrete at the Highground Memorial Park in Neillsville for a new Korean Veterans Memorial. Kirk Rodman, volunteer general manager of the park, says three figures, representing soldiers in several environments, will be part of the memorial. “Three figures that the committee felt was most important for our people to come and see. And those represent cold , heat — which we call thirst, and anguish .”
Rodman is hopeful they'll finish the project within their time frame, with a dedication in the late spring or early summer of next year. He says the board of directors has made a conscious effort to honor all wars of the 20th and 21st century, with tributes to WWI, WWII, Vietnam and soon the Korean War. He explains, they also offer four miles of trails and signature pieces. “We have the national tribute to Native Americans that served and died in Vietnam; We have an exact replica of the Liberty Bill; We have a statue that we just dedicated in July to the W.A.S.P.S — the women that served from 1942-'44 — that relieved the guys so they could go into combat; and we have the Meditation Garden.”
The group has been soliciting donations to fund the memorial, starting with a goal of 170-thousand dollars. Rodman says that amount has risen to around 180-grand, and they still need around 22,000 dollars to meet that new goal. Rodman says it's important to note that the Highground is one of the few veterans parks in the U-S that is manned every day, 10-5, and the park itself is open 24/7, all year around, with the mission of healing and educating.
They selected a nationally known artist from LaCrosse, Mike Martino, to design the memorial.