New WWII Memorial to be unveiled

Brian McClaskey, shopman at Carlson Memorials, moves a column into place Thursday morning while assembling the new WWII Honor Flight Memorial.

The Western Slope Honor Flight had just one more thing to do before calling it quits.

It spent the last of its money, plus a little extra from generous donors, to build a permanent marker for the WWII veterans of Western Colorado.

The memorial was carved from Georgia granite by Carlson Memorials and installed at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado Thursday morning.

“It just brings tears to my eyes, said Kathy Iles, Honor Flight volunteer.

The memorial, now under wraps, has five bronze stars representing each of the Honor Flights that were completed and their dates. It also recognizes several important dates to the war and thanks those of the Greatest Generation who gave their lives with courage.

“Over one thousand WWII vets are already buried here, so many that didn’t get to go (on the Honor Flight), and we wanted to honor them too,” said Kris Baugh, president.

Hundreds are expected to attend the unveiling and dedication of the memorial at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the cemetery. The services will also recognize the 67th anniversary of V-J Day (Victory over Japan) which took place Sept. 2, 1945 and officially ended the war.

“We’ve invited all the Western Slope veterans and Honor Flight gaurdians,” Iles said, adding that anyone was welcome to attend. The program will include guest speaker, Bill Pitts and a representative from congressman Scott Tipton’s office.

Transportation is available from the overflow parking area at the Grand Junction Regional Center to the event site just in front of the cemetery’s Administration Building.

The Western Slope Honor Flight safely transported 530 WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to view their memorial in five chartered flights between 2009 and 2011. The program was closed after the Honor Flight determined that they had taken every eligible veteran and completed their mission.



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