Starke County Veteran’s War Memorial Groundbreaking Set for May 25

A groundbreaking ceremony to welcome the construction of the new Starke County Veteran’s War Memorial is planned for Monday, May 25 at 4 p.m. CT.

The new memorial will be built on the southeast corner of the Starke County Courthouse square at Washington and Pearl Streets.  The original memorials will remain on the southwest corner in order to preserve that history. Those names and names of other fallen Starke County soldiers will be featured on a new memorial on the opposite southern corner in a plaza-type setting. 

The updated monument would feature the names of Starke County veterans killed in wars etched in a black granite wall infused within a longer limestone wall, or another approved permanent fixture.  Seating would be available for a time of reflection.  A black granite statute will bestow the name of Frank Ono, the county’s Medal of Honor recipient.  The two cannons on the lawn of the Starke County Courthouse would be positioned just behind the wall along with the American flag and the five flags of the Armed Forces waving proudly.

Several speakers will present information to those in attendance including Starke County Military Historian Jeff Berg and Starke County Commission President Charlie Chesak with a proclamation of consecration. State Representative Jim Pressel and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski will deliver words.  Additionally, Knox VFW Post #748 Chaplain Charles Johnson will provide the invocation and VFW Indiana State Membership Chairman David Capshaw will speak. 

An announcement will be made concerning the fundraising campaign as fund gathering continues to make this a reality.  Several local professionals have offered free services which help with the progress and momentum of the project. 

The Knox-Center Township Fire Department will present the American Flag, as approved by Mayor Dennis Estok.  If there is rain, he has also offered the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center as a venue to hold the ceremony.

Those who attend the event are strongly encouraged to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.  One hundred chairs will be available for seating at a social distance.  Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to attendees by the Starke County Health Department.  If people feel uncomfortable about attending the service, they are welcome to attend the dedication service on Veteran’s Day in November when conditions may be more favorable. 

The project remains on schedule and will begin soon after Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony.