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Backers break ground on Veterans Memorial at Moncus Park, November completion eyed

The Advocate - 4/22/2021

Apr. 21—A Veterans Memorial, one of six features in Phase II of Moncus Park construction, has a November target date for completion, executive director EB Brooks said this week.

Supporters for the million-dollar memorial, to be built on about an acre near ancient oaks and a tree house in the park's core, gathered there Tuesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

"This honors everyone, all the way back to the Revolutionary War," said Skip Palmintier, co-chairman of the veterans memorial committee. He said 8-foot markers will call to mind 11 major wars or conflicts in which the U.S. was involved as part of an effort to honor veterans.

Places were available for two additional wars, to which Palmintier said, "I hope they stay blank."

Brooks said the effort for the memorial goes back more than six years, to the early days of advocacy for the park itself. Moncus Park, located on a former horse farm, is named for former Marine and Lafayette businessman James Devin Moncus, who died April 14. Plans call for the park to open around Thanksgiving. Moncus was the principal donor to the park.

Brooks said park developers talked with the veterans about "intricate details" for the memorial, its location and what she said would be a "world-class design." Duplantis Design Group explained the memorial's features in a series of placards.

Memorial features include spots for 22,000 pavers to honor military veterans. About 1,000 bricks have been sold; the cost of securing a brick to honor a veteran starts at $100. Flags to represent the branches of service will fly at the site.

The site will accommodate weddings, lectures and celebrations and will accent the nation's history.

"It's a great tribute to our history," said Lafayette oilman Bo Ramsay, a Korean War veteran and major donor. "Kids don't get enough history education."

"It's about education for the living, all they have done to keep us free," said Matt Stuller, whose efforts in the campaign helped supporters reach their goal for building the memorial.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory, a combat veteran, said people from Lafayette and Louisiana have left their "footprint" on the nation's history for "selfless service" in the military. He said those honored "served something greater than themselves, all in the name of liberty." He said the memorial, in the middle of the park that's being built in the middle of the city, should make local people proud.

Donors honored include Stuller Family Foundation, Pinhook Foundation, Schilling Distributing Co. and Renee and Herbie Schilling Fund, Casey B. Lowe, Jim and Ginger Roy, Bo Ramsay, Beaver Club of Lafayette and the Veterans Memorial at Moncus Park Committee.


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