Manitowoc County Veterans Memorial
The Manitowoc County Veterans Memorial is a two-part memorial made up of the usual granite tablets with an inscription, as well as "The Eternal Flame", a torch lit by natural gas. Untrue in its name, the flame has had a history of extinguishing and reigniting due to the cost of natural gas. Regardless of the flame, the memorial is dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of Manitowoc County over the course of many wars participated in by the United States. These conflicts include the Spanish American War, The Civil War, World War I, World War II, The Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the War on Terrorism.
Backstory and Context
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
Inscription of the Eternal Flame
Salomon, Kent. Soldiers and Sailors. Historical Marker Database. July 07, 2012. Accessed December 05, 2017. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=57251.