Nestled in rural Iowa is an amazing sight that honors veterans both living and deceased. This monument is located the west edge of Albia, IA and is a magnificent display that signifies so much for our country. Monroe County has generously donated eight acres of land on highway 34 (named after the 34th Infantry) just west of the city limits to make an honored place in the heart of Iowa and a grateful nation where all soldiers, living and deceased, can be at home with their comrades – a fitting home for this special kind of monument.
Welcome Home Soldier Monument is a public monument of national magnitude. It memorializes the active duty peacetime and wartime honorably discharged veterans in the past, present, and those in the future. Their commendable services will be immortalized and be used as a model and a history lesson of the wars and great battles fought for the freedom of future generations.
Twenty-one marble crosses are placed down the center of our monument in the grassy area leading up to the granite wall, lighted at night for everyone to enjoy. These 21 Welcome home crosses represent the 21 gun salute — the highest honor you can bestow on a soldier who served their country. There are also 100 American flags that adorn the lawn in front of the monument. New additions to the monument in the last year include a 30 foot wall and pedestals on each side for donor names was installed in July of 2017, The Honor Bell in August of 2017 and the Iwo Jima Statue in October of 2017. The Honor Bell has Merrill Baker engraved on one side and Denny Ryan on the other side. Merrill donated the money for the bell and was a Korea war veteran and Denny Ryan actually found the bell.
This monument was developed with a vision and there are a still a few parts of that vision to be realized, to see the full story you can check out this short YouTube video on the original vision. To see a video of the current state of the memorial you can view the video captured by Soaring Over Iowa.
Currently the monument is undergoing a parking lot improvement and in the very near future will have a lighted and paved lot for visitors. According to their facebook page you can still visit the monument: “We will be shutting the parking lot down tomorrow morning (May 9th) until further notice so we can pave the parking lot. Sorry for any inconvience, but you can park on the East side and walk to the trail. It will get us out of the mud and have a lighted lot.”
This weekend there are an additional 300 flags placed at the monument in honor of Memorial Day.
For more information on the monument, how to support it or upcoming events happening at the monument be sure to check out their website located here and their facebook page has the most up to date information about the park.
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