It’s been around 60 years since the stone Veteran’s Memorial was erected on the courthouse lawn. Today it stands in front of a parking lot, shrouded by large overhanging trees -- and time has taken its toll. The masonry holding the rock structure together is decaying, the bronze plaque needs polishing, fixing it will cost as much as $5,000 and moving it could result in it falling apart.
These are issues Cook County commissioners are struggling with and at Tuesday’s meeting they turned to American Legion Post 413 for advice and possible help with funding the cost of reconstruction. Post Commander Don Wilson told the board he’d looked into options and concluded it would be better to fix it right rather than do a cosmetic make-over.
Wilson: The old memorial out there is getting pretty run down. The mortar is falling out of it. It needs some help. The best thing to do right now would be to do it in place. You’d have to grind out the joints. If you don’t grind out the joints, you just put a Band-aid on a broken window. Then you would put a cap on the top of it, so the water would eventually shed off, and that would last a lot longer than any of us will. Other than that, if you were going to just fix it cosmetically to make it look good now, you would be wasting time and money.
Commissioner Fritz Sobanja said me was afraid the old memorial would not be able to hold up during a move, but suggested the board and Legion discuss options over the winter in preparation for fixing the monument in the spring or summer. Commissioner Jim Johnson expressed the hope the Legion would cooperate with the board on ideas and funding.
Johnson: It would be great if there could be a partnership between the Legion and the county on how it should be placed on the property and, you know, it would be great if the Legion would help.
Wilson said he’d discuss the matter with Legion members and thought they could plan some fundraising events to help share the cost of renovating the old memorial.