On a cold and rainy Veterans Day, a handful of men, women and children showed their respect for the men and women of the military, at the monument’s rededication at 63rd and Kenneth. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Kelly White

On a cold and rainy Veterans Day, a handful of men, women and children showed their respect for the men and women of the military, at the monument’s rededication at 63rd and Kenneth. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Kelly White

Decades later, they still remember

Grateful SW Siders rededicate a refurbished military monument on 63rd Street

By Kelly White

The monument at the northwest corner of 63rd and Kenneth, which honors the men and women who served in the nation’s military, was dedicated in 1948—when World War II was still a fresh and often painful memory for millions.

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On a cold and rainy Veterans Day, a handful of men, women and children showed their respect for the men and women of the military, at the monument’s rededication at 63rd and Kenneth. –Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Kelly White

Seventy-three years later, on Veterans Day, the people of West Lawn gathered on a cold, rainy day to show they haven’t forgotten the sacrifices made.

“We are very grateful for all of our wonderful veterans that gave their lives for our freedom,” West Lawn community advocate Barb Ziegler said. She was at the rededication both as a representative of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn and as a friend of the Clearing American Legion Post 600, which is headquartered a short walk east of the monument.

Ziegler helped lead a drive to refurbish the monument.

“It was a very long process,” she said. “Plans for the restoration project began in 2017, and a lot of paperwork had to be completed before the refurbishment could begin.”

The effort attracted monetary donations from local groups and individuals, and Home Depot employees donated their time and muscle to the project. During the refurbishment, volunteers took down all of the evergreen trees that surrounded the monument, cleaned and repaired any damage to the monument, upgraded the landscaping and more.

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West Lawn community advocate Barb Ziegler thanks everyone for attending the re-dedication of a military memorial at 63rd and Kenneth.

“Back during the Second World War, every community had a monument dedicated to veterans,” Ziegler said. “This is something we take great pride in.”

The monument was initially donated by Illinois Bell (later At&T) on land they owned.

Working alongside Ziegler since the planning for the project began three years ago was West Lawn native and Vietnam veteran (Navy, 1960-1964) Marvin Gadbaw.

“For the past year, this project has been my baby,” said Gadbaw, a Clearing Post member for 14 years. “I worked long and hard to have this memorial refurbished, and I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Gadbaw was out there every day during the process, including the laying of paver blocks and white marble. He was responsible for putting up new flags on the new flagpoles.

“I come from a dedicated family of veterans and servicemen,” Gadbaw said. “My father, my brother, my son. Having this monument refurbished means the world to me. I am really happy.”

Clearing Post Commander Bob Rucinski agreed.

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The monument, which had appeared scruffy and neglected in recent years, has been restored to reflect the community’s respect and admiration for all those who served.

“For some time, we wanted to clean up the monument and make it nice for all of the veterans, especially those who gave their lives,” Rucinski said.

“We have been looking forward to dedicating this memorial to the men and women who sacrificed their time and lives to protect our country,” he added. “The post is pleased to be a part of the rededication and memorial service.”

After the ceremony, a reception was held at the post for all those who attended and for their families. Doughnuts were provided by Huck Finn Restaurant.

 

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Clearing American Legion Post 600 Commander, Bob Rucinski.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A color guard unit from Clearing American Legion Post 600 arrived at the re-dedication ceremony.

 

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