The All Veterans Memorial
The All Veteran's Memorial is in Emporia, Kansas, which happens to be the city that founded Veteran's Day. Emporia celebrates Veteran's Day extensively, including a parade and banners of veterans lining the main street in the town; the main street then leads directly into the All Veteran's Memorial which displays a helicopter, tank, and several plaques with the names of Emporia's Veterans. However, the commemorations within the memorial are constantly shifting due to ideas constantly being brought forth by members of the community.
Backstory and Context
November 11, 1918 signified the end of World War I, which in turn would become the beginning of a tradition in America eight years later. In 1926, November 11th officially became known as Armistice Day; then in 1938, Armistice Day became a national holiday. Though the day was proclaimed as an agreement that World War I was "the War to end all Wars," since "armistice" literally means a treaty between opposing sides, World War II began only a few years later ("Welcome" 1). Another eight years passed since the end of World War II when an Emporia man proposed that Armistice Day should be used to honor veterans, since "armistice" no longer held the pact of peace. Alvin J. King wanted to remember veterans from all wars, not just WWI. The same year he proposed the idea, it was taken to Congress, passed by President Eisenhower, and celebrated for the first time on November 11, 1954 ("Welcome" 1).
The All Veterans Memorial was dedicated on May 26, 1991. The memorial honors veterans from the Civil War to the Gulf War, which had never been done before in the United States. Within the All Veterans Memorial is the “Circle of Honor,” which is in the middle of the memorial, and displays the “Military Order of the Purple Heart Monument for the State of Kansas,” dedicated in August of 2003 (“All” 1). In the Circle of Honor, there is also seven fieldstone monuments symbolic of the major conflicts fought since Emporia was founded in February 1857 (“History” 1). In the middle of the Circle of Honor is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which consists of a plaque that displays nine names of men from Emporia and Lyon County that gave their lives in the Vietnam War under the heading “Some Gave All.”. There is also a walkway up to the Circle of Honor known as the “Walk of Honor,” which has bronze plaques dedicated to individuals and organizations. The Walk of Honor then leads up to the “Medal of Honor alcove,” which is a gazebo-type structure that has a memorial for Sgt. Grant Timmerman (who also has an elementary school named after him in Emporia), because he threw himself over a grenade to save his tank crew during World War II (“All” 1).
Recently, there have been additions to the All Veteran’s Memorial. The Memorial originally displayed a helicopter, a tank, and a few plaques. The newest addition includes ten tablets that display the names and inscriptions of veterans from Emporia (“Welcome” 1). However, there was such high demand in the city for there to be more space to honor even more veterans, so there will be another addition soon (Samples 1). The proposal is to add at least three more tablets, which will display about 240 more names (Samples 1). Members of the community can go the All Veteran’s Memorial’s website and request a name plaque for someone they wish to memorialize (“Welcome” 1). There is also a proposal for a gazebo to be added to the memorial, which will have more information about the memorial inside, as well as, provide storage (Samples 1).
"All Veterans Memorial.” Official State of Kansas Tourism Website,
www.travelks.com/listing/all-veterans-memorial/3065/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2017.
“History.” Emporia Chamber of Commerce, Emporiakschamber.org/history-2/.
Samples, Chuck. “Tablets of Honor adding more stones .” KVOE, kvoe.com/newsedit/17773-tablets-of-honor-adding-more-stones.
Stokes, Keith. “Soden's Dam Falls & Soden's Bridge.” Soden's Dam Falls - Emporia, Kansas, www.kansastravel.org/sodensdamfalls.htm.
“Welcome to the All Veterans Memorial.” The All Veterans Memorial,
www.allveteransday.org/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2017.