ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – Plans are moving forward for a $3 million World War II memorial in metro Detroit, with bricks that will be part of the project going on display this month.
Red bricks are being donated for the Walk of Honor at the future Michigan WWII Memorial in Royal Oak. The walk will ring the memorial and its pillars, statues and wall of stars representing lives lost.
For three years, volunteers with the Honor Flight Michigan Legacy Project have been collecting inscribed bricks to line the walk. Almost 300 have been donated. They’re going on display March 16 at the Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society in Eastpointe.
“We have a really lofty fundraising goal but so is our goal for this tribute to Michigan,” said Debi Hollis of Royal Oak, president of the legacy group.
“We want to honor the servicemen and women, and show the contribution of the home front — everything from the huge production of tanks, weapons and aircraft to the life vests made in Petoskey and the iron ore mined in the Upper Peninsula,” she said.
The bricks, which aim to personalize the memorial for veterans and their families, will be kept at the museum until the memorial is ready. The inscribed bricks cost $100, $200 and $500 each, depending on the size. Fundraising also is under way from corporate sponsors.
“Some of the inscriptions are really touching,” said Chris Zimmel of Clawson, a legacy project volunteer. “One man almost has his whole life story on a 16-by-16 brick. He was a bomber who … married the love of his life. … Other bricks are as simple as someone’s name with an inscription.”
No construction date has been set for the monument, which will be built at Memorial Park.
Honor Flight Michigan for years has arranged free flights to Washington, D.C. for World War II veterans, and the memorial plans followed that effort. In addition $3 million for construction, volunteers want to establish an endowment for memorial maintenance costs.
You can find more information on the memorial at http://www.michiganww2memorial.org.
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