The Design of the Veterans Monument
by Robert E. Dishman (USMC 1966-1968)
Wanting a Veterans Monument that would represent ALL VETERANS, PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE; that would represent the ARMY, the NAVY, the MARINE CORPS, the AIR FORCE, the COAST GUARD and the MERCHANT MARINE, and that would represent service during times of PEACE and times of WAR; was quite a challenge.
Our monument has two faces - one facing West towards Merrick Avenue and the other facing East towards Little Whaleneck Road. The center and base stones are Jet-Black granite which came from Africa. The tow side stones or "wings" are Mahogany granite which was mined in North Dakota (Symbolic of the wars fought at home and on foreign soil).
The black center stone (8 feet high by 3 feet wide) is abutted with a (6 feet high by 2 feet wide) mahogany wing on each
side. Both wings contain three military logos (each 18 inches in diameter) on each face. These logos have been arranged so that all of the six branches of service are visible on each side. If you walk completely around the monument you would see the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force each hold a top spot on one of the four faces of the wings. You would also notice that no branch of service is always on the bottom. (Symbolic of the fact that our military forces are always on the move and willing to travel the globe to defend our freedoms).
THE WEST FACE CENTER STONE
Since we are a nation which was founded under the principal of religious freedom, at the top right corner is etched the American Legion motto "For God and Country". To the left of four etched faces.
The first infantryman wearing the famous "steel pot" helmet, which was used from World War II through the Vietnam War. He represents all the ground forces of all the services.
The next is a female wearing a current issue dress uniform cap. She was chosen because of the increasing roles and responsibilities that woman are filling in all branches of the military.
Next is a sailor wearing the well-known "Dixie-cup" hat. He represents all those who sail and have sailed the seven seas.
The final face is that of a man of color wearing a flight helmet. He not only represents all those who defend us from above, but more importantly that our military is comprised of men and woman of all races, all religions, and all walks of life. We are extremely fortunate that we live in a country where every man, woman and child can soar to great heights which is only limited by their own ambitions.
"IN HONOR OF ALL THOSE WHO SERVE AND HAVE SERVED OUR GREAT NATION IN TIMES OF PEACE AND IN TIMES OF WAR" is the inscription on the West Face. Whether this is read today or many years from now, "who serve" will always stand for those currently in the serve of our country, and the have served for those who proudly wore the uniform sometime during all the yesterdays.
The next inscription recognizes that this was a community effort and that because you cared, this Veteran's Monument stands here today.
THE EAST FACE CENTER STONE
Here you will find an etched AMERICAN FLAG that will always fly proudly in the breeze. Just below on the same flagpole is a POW - MIA FLAG in honor of those who are still unaccounted for. Accompanying our national ensign is the poem, BUT YOU DIDN'T, which Stan Gebhardt wrote.
While attend Towson University, my daughter Christy brought home the book, A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, specifically to show me this poem. When our community veterans' monument was in the design stages, I knew that this poem should be a part of it. Permission was needed to use the poem and after several months of searching, I found the author in Port Clinton, Ohio. Stan was honored that we wanted to use his poem.
PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY. It is dedicated not only to those who didn't return, but also to all the veterans who did return but not the same as when they had left.
Note 1: This article came out during the dedication of this monument around November 11, 2000. This article is the second of two articles centered around our Veterans Monument, located at the Merrick's Veteran Memorial Park, which is located at 1580 Little Whaleneck Road, North Merrick, New York 11566. If you get a chance stop by this park. Thank you.
Note 2: Article courtesy of Post member, Robert Dishman and the Merrick Post No. 1282, American Legion.