A traveling memorial scheduled to make a stop in the area is changing locations.
The Traveling World War II memorial will be arriving next week for a five-day display. The memorial is a one-half-sized replica of the U.S. World War II memorial in Washington D.C.
It was originally scheduled to be put on display at Dewy Park in South Jacksonville next to Village Hall, however, Jimmy Duncan with Jacksonville Amvets Post 100 who is hosting the event, says a lucky opportunity became available and the memorial will now be on display on the grounds of the Prairieland Heritage Museum.
“We were going to put it there in Dewey Park right there by the Village Hall, and they have been great to work with by the way. The opportunity to go to Prairieland Heritage came along and it would give us a lot more parking and away from the school. The school wouldn’t bother us but we don’t want to be a bother to the kids so to speak so this opportunity came up and I think it’s going to work out great, and we appreciate all the help South Jacksonville has given us.”
Duncan says the memorial will arrive next Wednesday, September 8th, and will be on display through Sunday, September 12th. The memorial will be erected in the large area next to the main office on the museum grounds.
Duncan says even though it is a half size of the original, the World War II memorial requires a very large space for display.
“We need about the size of a football field to put this thing in. It is one hundred feet wide, or requires one hundred feet, and is two hundred and sixty feet long so it’s essentially a football field. That’s a good solid surface there so it should work out great for us.”
The memorial consists of a wall of stars, the Atlantic and Pacific Pavilions along with 56 pillars. Duncan says the memorial is a very moving tribute to those who have come to be known as “The Greatest Generation”.
“I’m a little sad that so many of our World War II veterans have either passed away or are not really able to get out much. So they may not get a chance to see this, but maybe they can drive by or have someone drive them by or something. But I’m hoping that their families can come and see it and get some closure. And maybe realize all those things Granddad never talked about, here’s maybe why. So hopefully they will enjoy it.”
Less than 326,000 American World War II veterans are alive today out of the over 16 million that served according to federal data from earlier this year. 405,399 Americans died in World War II, which includes the 72,000 Americans that still remain unaccounted for.
The Wall of Stars contains 4,048 gold stars that represent 100 American military deaths.
The Traveling World War II Memorial will be on display at the Prairieland Heritage Museum from Thursday, September 9th through Sunday the 12th. A 9-11 memorial service will also be held at the memorial Saturday, September 11th at 10:30 am.