A new sculpture of an eagle and the U.S. flag was dedicated at La Crosse’s Riverside Park on Friday for Veterans’ Day weekend.
The work by local artist Mike Martino was in the planning stage for eight years. Official plans were unveiled around Veterans’ Day of 2021. The groundbreaking was held last November for the project, in which the City Vision Group was looking to raise $500,000 to fund it.
“We believe our veterans’ memorial here will welcome many veterans and their families to reminisce, and think about their loved ones so we welcome you any time to come down and enjoy the benches and think of your loved ones, because that’s what this is about,” said Carol Gross of City Vision, which has led planning efforts for the memorial.
It features a bronze eagle and flag, atop a granite pedestal that honors branches of the armed forces. The base stands on a hexagon of bricks, featuring the names of people being honored, and of donors to the project.
It is located near the Mississippi River levee in Riverside Par, a short distance from the eagle sculpture at the west end of State Street.
About 200 people attended the dedication, including Mayor Mitch Reynolds and many local veterans.
Marine veteran and businessman Don Weber was among them. He asked the audience to remember vets they know.
“Those who are currently serving, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and let’s hold them in our hearts in gratitude for their service,” Weber said.