Fundraising campaign for Mantle of Peace Memorial kicks off

As completion of the War Memorial's renovation was celebrated Tuesday night in Hannibal's Central Park, another memorial fundraising campaign was launched.

Approximately 100 people turned out to view the names of more than 5,000 Northeast Missouri veterans who served during WWI and WWII. Among those on hand Tuesday evening was Dennis Griffen, whose name is listed on the memorial.

Details for the next memorial project were announced at the event. It will be built in the Cardiff Hill Overlook Park and feature a Mantle of Peace constructed around the freedom bell currently located in Kiwanis Park on the Hannibal riverfront. The bell was formerly aboard the USS Hannibal. It will be elevated by columns built from the cobblestones removed from the riverfront.

The project will be funded through the sale of customized bricks honoring armed service veterans.

"We have actually presold bricks already," said Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department. "I would imagine tomorrow (Wednesday) we will have a bunch of bricks sold. We are pretty excited."

It is hoped that like the War Memorial, for which more than $12,000 was raised to pay for its renovation, the Mantle of Peace funds will be entirely raised through private donations.

Mayor James Hark applauded the public's generosity. "It speaks volumes about the quality of people we have in this community," he said. "When there is a need, and you ask in behalf of an appropriate project, the people of Hannibal respond."

Dorian could not believe that the money required to have the War Memorial's name plaques refurbished was raised in a matter of months.

"You are left speechless when you do a project like this and think it's going to take X amount of time, and then you are able to raise the money that fast," Dorian said. "It is a testament to the people here in Hannibal and Northeast Missouri, to their hearts and charity."

A list of the names and photos taken by Kay Ellis of the memorial before its restoration can be found at hannibal.lib.mo.us/digital/veterans/veterans_memorial.

danny.henley@corierpost.com