SARCOXIE, Mo – A group of around 25 veterans and community members have worked together to upgrade a memorial that honors those who served.
If you’ve traveled around the historic Sarcoxie Square you may have noticed this veteran memorial on the corner of 6th and Central Street. This Memorial has been here since 1997 and has not been updated since.
But now, you will see this massive display to honor those who have served.
It all started in May of 2018 when Michelle Gautz, the Sarcoxie Historian, was asked about updating the memorial. She gathered ideas and held monthly meetings to fine-tune those ideas, veterans attending the meetings voiced their input on what they wanted to see.
The new memorial has eight monoliths with a plaque on each one. Each plaque has names of veterans, both fallen and still alive, from Sarcoxie and surrounding areas. Some names have their branch, ranks, years they served, and which war they served in.
“Not everyone is from Sarcoxie because we decided as a committee, again the veterans determined that they were not going to be that hard-nosed about it. You know, a veteran you served your country and in many cases died for your country. If you want your name on there, by all means, we want to put it on there,” says Michelle.
One of the names on a monolith is Gary Turner from Sarcoxie. Gary served in the Army as a Sargeant during the Vietnam War. He was speechless when talking about how meaningful a memorial like this was to him.
“I don’t know if I can even come up with the words, it’s just really really overwhelming almost. I mean this is awesome, it turned out just incredible,” says Gary.
Gary and his wife own Stone Cottage, a flower store on the square that is just across the street from the memorial. He says already the memorial has been a hit in the community.
“In the last two or three days, I’ve never seen so many cars come by and then slow down and stop, people are getting out they’re checking out the names and everything,” says Gary.
Michelle says being a part of this process has been emotional for her as well.
“My husband was in during Vietnam time, my dad was a Prisoner of War, my brother-in-law was killed in Vietnam. And so it’s been a project that’s near and dear to my heart. I have a daughter that her husband is in the Air Force now serving,” says Michelle.
Michelle and the veterans who worked on this project will be having a dedication ceremony this weekend during the Chief Sarcoxie Days event. Michelle says the dedication will be around 2:30 after the Chief Sarcoxie Day parade.
If you or someone you know has served and would like a name on one of the plaques, there are applications across the city or you can contact Michelle for an application. It is $80 to have a name on a plaque.