BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota — There will soon be a special place in the Twin Cities to recognize and remember all veterans who've served during war and peace.
The Bloomington Veterans Memorial will be built on the east lawn of Civic Plaza in late 2023.
The design is powerful in its symbolism. There are two walking paths: one for the veteran and their journey, and the other for the veteran's family.
"We also wanted to do this memorial to reflect the contributions the families gave to support those veterans," said Mike Dardis. He is a Vietnam Veteran who serves as vice president of Bloomington Remembers Veterans Inc., the nonprofit organization working to make this memorial a reality.
In addition to the paths, the design features lighted circular platforms engraved with symbols representing the six military branches: Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, and the Space Force. You'll also find armatures with symbolic dog tags.
"Those tags may move like a wind chime, almost like they're speaking. It would be almost like the service people are speaking to the people going through this," Dardis said.
The vision comes from the National World War II Memorial architect, Leo Daly. The Bloomington Veterans memorial, however, would celebrate veterans from all conflicts. "There's a long history about military contributions in the city of Bloomington," said Dardis. "We have 62 [veterans] that are buried in the Bloomington cemetery, some of which are from the historic, first Minnesota unit that fought at Gettysburg."
The memorial is not just for vets from the distant past. "It will be a good place for people to not only honor and show respect for the veterans, but also to help with the healing for those with PTSD, things of that nature," said Dardis.
The project is estimated to cost $750,000. Bloomington Remembers Veterans Inc. is privately fundraising; no tax money will go towards the memorial.
The hope is to have half of the $750,000 by the end of the first quarter in 2022, but help is needed to reach that goal. If you would like to learn how to donate or volunteer, visit BloomingtonVeteransMemorial.org.