HANNIBAL | An initial step toward the creation of a Veterans Memorial on the Cardiff Hill Overlook in Hannibal has been taken with the recent placing of 50 veteran-honoring bricks near the site where the memorial will eventually be built.
Among those happy to see the first batch of bricks set in place is Mary Lynne Richards of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department.
“I've been waiting for this for a long time,” she said. “It is really good to see them finally placed. I think that once people see them here it will remind them that we are building a Veterans Memorial here and they might want a brick for one of their loved ones laid here as well.”
Among the handful of veterans at the overlook on Thursday afternoon was Barry Thomure, a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, who served in Vietnam from 1965 through 1969. Thomure, who had no trouble finding his brick, was pleased with its appearance.
“I like them. They really look nice,” he said. “I think it is pretty wonderful that the city of Hannibal does stuff like this for its veterans. I hope other people appreciate it because I do.”
Thomure's brick was a gift.
“My sons bought it for me for Christmas one year when they first started this program,” he said.
The Veterans Memorial is approximately 67 percent toward its funding goal of $60,000. According to Richards, a total of 211 bricks have been ordered, and about $42,000 raised.
“It (fund raising) is slow, but steady,” she said. “I think people seeing the bricks will really help.”
The Veterans Memorial and Freedom Bell will be built on the Cardiff Hill Overlook, which provides a view of the Mississippi River.
“I can't wait until they get the complete thing done and the monument up. I think it will look great,” Thomure said.
The project, which has been organized by the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department and the Veterans Services Commission, will feature a pathway consisting of memorial bricks.
The bricks must have the name of a service member. However, the veteran being recognized does not have to be a Hannibal resident, former or current. The bricks may be purchased to honor a member of the military. The customized bricks may be purchased for $125 per brick. Donors of $500 or more to the project will be listed on a plaque adjacent to the memorial.
The memorial will include a bell from the USS Hannibal, which the U.S. Navy built in 1898. The vessel was used in World Wars 1 and 2 and the Spanish America War. The ship was decommissioned in 1944 and sunk off the coast of Virginia where it was transformed into a reef. Even though the ship was named after the general, not the city, the U.S. Navy sent the city of Hannibal the bell in the late 1940s. For many years the bell was kept on the Hannibal riverfront in Kiwanis Park.