Dedication for new Zumbrota Veterans Memorial happening Saturday
Community members raised around $173,000 for the memorial, which features flags for the six military branches and two plaque walls.
ZUMBROTA — A veterans memorial four years in the making will be officially dedicated on Saturday.
The new Zumbrota Veterans Memorial is located along North Main Street, just north of the city's skate park and across the street from Covered Bridge Park. The dedication ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, and will include performances from the Zumbrota-Mazeppa Schools band and choir and a speech by Minnesota District 1 VFW Commander Samuel Landon.
Brad Nord, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he began to attend Zumbrota Park Board meetings in 2019 to start the process of building a veterans memorial in town.
"When I started doing this, a lot of people said I was wasting my time because, in the past, other people had tried to get a site going here in Zumbrota," Nord said. "And they just didn't have any luck."
But Nord persisted, attending those board meetings via Zoom when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In early 2021, Nord said the park board narrowed its site options down to the space just north of the city's skate park. On June 8, 2021, Nord led the first meeting of a committee created to work on the memorial.
"The first thing that happened — we had a 75-foot diameter round (cement) circle that was poured about a year ago in September," Nord said, "with a huge reddish star that reaches out to the edge of the circle."
Other installments at the memorial include two benches, seven flagpoles bearing the United States flag and the flags of the six U.S. military branches, two walls for veterans' plaques and two black granite monuments, which Nord said were installed this week.
"They came in from India into St. Cloud about a little over a month and a half ago," he said. "One says 'Zumbrota Veterans Memorial,' and the other is a monument with the six service branches etched into the granite."
For the plaque walls, Nord said any veteran, living or deceased, is eligible to have their name recognized at the memorial.
"If you've been honorably discharged, you can have a plaque on our site," he said. "You don't have to be from Zumbrota; you can be from anywhere in the United States."
Finding local contractors was an important part of creating the memorial.
"We worked with Lee Herold, Herold Flags and Flagpoles in Rochester," Nord said. "Rochester Sand and Gravel actually built a little parking lot for us, and the city of Zumbrota, along with Rochester Sand and Gravel, paid for most of that."
Nord said that he worked with the Zumbrota Community Trust to help raise around $173,000 to build and support the Zumbrota Veterans Memorial. Now, the memorial has reached the end of phase one; more additions are planned for the future.
"We're gonna add statues," Nord said. "We'll probably need some more walls in the distant future for more plaques to put on."