At an event held Sept. 12 at Flossmoor Community House, community stakeholders unveiled a proposed “Wall of Honor” that would list the names of all the men and women of Flossmoor who served the country. So far 841 veterans have been identified.
Former Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun serves as president of the nonprofit that’s spearheading the fundraising effort. He said the wall would have a price tag of about $100,000 and called on community members “to open up your hearts and open up your pocketbooks.”
“Our mission for this project is to foster the spirit of purpose, respect and kinship across all generations of Flossmoor residents by knowing and recognizing Flossmoor veterans who have served in our nation's military," Braun said, "and to provide recognition, education, programs and a memorial to commemorate Flossmoor residents who’ve served in the U.S. armed forces.”
The memorial would consist of an outdoor public plaza including a circular area that is defined by a stone seat wall and five steel pillars that represent each branch of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
The walls would be illuminated at night. The area would also be surrounded by benches at the edges of a yard engulfing the plaza. It would be a place for events that honor the town’s veterans, in addition to serving as a community gathering space.
The memorial was designed by Flossmoor resident Michael Matthys, vice president of Linden Group Architects in Orland Park, and a team of kids who were looking for a project for a FIRST Lego League competition.
“Currently we’re looking at a site that's at Flossmoor Park by Park Place,” Matthys said of the plaza.
Sunday's event aimed to recreate a service that took place in Flossmoor on April 1, 1945, when the original dedication of a memorial wall was held. That display was never completed for reasons unknown. Richard Condon, vice president of the nonprofit, attended the 1945 event when he was 13 years old. He approached Braun when he was mayor about trying to continue that effort.
“I knew we were going to need to get a group together because there’s no way that one person could put together something like this,” Braun said. That led to the formation of Flossmoor Veterans' Memorial Inc. Some of its members include Kristine Condon, secretary/treasurer, and directors John Beele, Anthony Manos and Gregory T. Mitchell.
Other members of the steering committee include Trustee Brian Driscoll, Jim Fornaciari, Josh Grenard, Robert Guilfoyle, Village Clerk Gina LoGalbo and Calvin Young. Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson is serving as an ex-officio member of the committee.
Nelson said it’s important “to honor the bravery, the history and the service of our veterans.”
“They are so important to the fabric of our community,” she said. “They volunteer in our schools, they create community organizations and they continue to build community even after their service is over.”
Moving forward, Flossmoor Veterans' Memorial Inc. will host other events that will help support the creation of the wall, Nelson said.