On February 27, 1969, The 88th Post of the American Legion gathered the funds neccessary to build the ever-burning Flame of Freedom beneath the standing Soldiers and Sailors monument that serves as a canopy for the now burning flame. In unanimous decision, the Common Council of Manitowoc agreed for the placement of the torch, leaving all that was left being the construction. Scottsdale Gas Company from Arizona was happy to oblige to the construction and on Memorial Day, 1969, the torch was lit during the Memorial Day parade at the cost of $358.71. The torch was lit with the funding of the American Legion Post, and later by the City of Manitowoc.
A Not-So Eternal Flame
Contrary to the name, the Eternal Flame has seen its share of extinguish and re-ignition. In 1974, only 5 years after being lit, the cost of natural gas rose to the point that the city could no longer fund the burning of the flame. On March 3, 1975, an accord was reached that meant the flame would be ignited once again and now only burn until 2:00 AM, opposed to 24 hours, and be lit again the following morning. Once again, in 1979, it was issued that all outdoor decoration fueled by Natural Gas be extinguished by the following New Year, and the flame once again was put out in November 1979. During the 1980s, Attorney Buran delivered the message to the American Legion and City of Manitowoc that Ms. Fanney Angus Healy left in her will over $87,000 for the flame to continue to burn, and the flame continues to burn off of the growing interest of Ms Healy's account to this very day.
Inscription of the Memorial
DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO SERVED AND DIED
MAY THEIR SACRIFICE FOREVER INSPIRE FREEDOM
I was that which others did not want to be. I went where
others feared to go, and did what others feared to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly
accepted the thought of eternal loneliness should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear,
and have enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment's love.
I have cried, hurt and hoped, but most of all, I knew that
someday I would be able to say that I was proud and honored