The Eagle has landed
It has taken over four years to put the Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial puzzle pieces together.
A very recognizable piece, a bald eagle, landed at the memorial site last week. "The Eagle Has landed," proclaimed an observer to the installation of the bald eagle, mimicking First Man on the Moon Neil Armstrong's words.
Just last week, the pieces were starting to fit into the right places. What has been more talk than anything because of the necessity to raise funds to support the memorial, has now turned into a reality.
Last May, more than 150 persons watched as ground was broken for the memorial. Bishop Excavating then began to move ground and the project was under way.
The electrical was recently installed and the concrete poured.
The memorial is located just east of the BP Servicemen's Club and it is starting to look like a veterans memorial with the arrival of some key components.
A pedestal for the POW display and an awesome eagle with a 5-foot wing span arrived last week. The eagle was created at a foundry in California.
"I'm just numb," confessed Tom Peterson, chairman of the BP Veterans Memorial Committee, as he watched the five-foot tall eagle being installed last week. Peterson has been the lead person on the project as a member of the Sons of the American Legion.
The SAL group actually started the memorial project. Joe Motl, Sons commander, happened to be in the neighborhood the day the eagle and some granite columns arrived. "It's hard to believe that we started this," Motl said in tribute to the SAL.
VFW member Doug Miner helped two workmen from Sunburst Memorials put the eagle and other pieces together.
Other proud players in the development of the memorial are John and Barbara Heerema, owners of Owatonna Granite & Monument. John, present when the eagle was mounted, is the chief designer of the memorial. He and his wife donated the eagle to the BP Veterans Memorial Committee.
Barbara's father, the late Adolph Huinker, and her brother, the late David Huinker, both served in the military.
The Heeremas have been in the monument business for over 33 years. They have also helped create veterans memorials in Hayfield, Dodge Center, Morristown, Medford, Lonsdale, Wanamingo and Mazeppa.
Two pillars were installed last week and were part of an archway created by Metal Services of BP. Larry Rowe of Metal Services spearheaded the archway project. The powder coating was done by Extreme Powder Coating of BP.
Etched on the POW, KIA pedestal were the words "Freedom is not free." Other lettering on the pedestal included: "All gave some" and "Some gave all."
Two of the memorial walls are expected to be up by Veterans Day on Sunday. A public walk-through is planned from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
An open house will follow next Memorial Day, May 27 and an official dedication is planned for Nov. 11, 2019.