WUFT News

Remodeling Scheduled For Kanapaha Park Veterans’ Memorial

By on October 28th, 2013
The view as seen from the road, and the beginning of the current "A Walk Through Time" Memorial.

Melissa Walpole / WUFT News

The view as seen from the road, and the beginning of the current "A Walk Through Time" Memorial.

The remodeling of Alachua County’s “Walk Through Time” veterans memorial will start after Veterans Day.

The memorial, in Kanapaha Park at the intersection of Tower Road and Southwest 41st Place, shows U.S. military engagements from the American Revolution to Operation Enduring Freedom, including the Afghanistan War.

Visitors “walking through time” begin at the American Revolution monument. From there, each foot forward equals one year of history, and every 10 years there is a new tile. Each war has its own monument with bricks stacked on it — each brick representing 1,000 U.S. deaths.

The memorial is being remodeled to honor more veterans now and in the years to come.

“We’ve run out of room at the end of the monument,” said Don Sherry, former chairman of the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board.

The Veterans Memorial Committee came up with an idea to downsize the tiles and monuments. By doing so, they will be able to add another 80 years that can be honored.

“We want to give credit to any future wars,” said Bob Gasche, an 88-year-old Iwo Jima survivor and Veterans Advisory Board member.  ”Hopefully there won’t be any, but I’m afraid there will be and this will give us space for an additional monument.”

Lack of space isn’t the only problem with the current memorial. Gasche listed other viable reasons for remodeling such as cracks in the tile, wearing of the granite and discoloration.

One of the tiles labeled with the year 1800 located near the beginning of the memorial is showing it’s age.

The project will cost about $170,000 to $180,000 to complete. The Community Foundation of North Central Florida donated $80,000, putting the project well on its way.

“We’ve already got close to a hundred thousand,” Sherry said.

Former Alachua County resident and Vietnam veteran John Deakins said the memorial can educate children who don’t know about the wars.

“I think it’s important because our children are not as informed as they should be,” said Deakins.

He recalled a time giving a speech when a young girl raised her hand and asked: What was Vietnam?

“We were considered, by most people, the lowest people on the face of the earth,” Deakins said about returning home after Vietnam. “I made a decision at that point if I ever got in the position to thank our Veterans, I would.”

Deakins had previously put himself in this position by serving on the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board.

The Vietnam War memorial made of granite from Italy.

The memorial is not only visited by veterans. At Kanapaha Park, the memorial is surrounded by soccer fields, a roller skating rink, baseball fields, a basketball court, a playground and a scenic running path.

Rachel Nelson showed the memorial to her two daughters after they asked about it on their way to the playground.

“I think it’s very important for children to come so they can see our history and the people who have died for America,” Nelson said while her girls ran up and down the pathway, stopping at each monument to look closer.

Gasche said the current memorial’s tiles and monuments will be relocated to a place that will serve like a “garden of honor” so they can still be visited. Forest Meadows Funeral Home will assist in moving the monuments. There will be a procession with a sheriff’s patrol and a Calvary brigade.

“It is the veterans of Alachua County that are spearheading this move,” Gasche said.”It is such a privilege to work with them and to be part of this renovation that will bring us a memorial we will all be proud of.”

Those involved hope the new memorial will be unveiled Veterans Day 2014.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Teacher Conference Aims to Bring Global Perspective Into Classrooms

Gainesville Connected, a conference in Gainesville, aims to equip teachers to engage students on global issues such as poverty.


Anna Claire (left) and Katie Scarlett (right) are two capuchin monkeys that were once pets but now live in the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary. Scarlett is blind and Claire is diabetic.

Primate Sanctuaries Feel Stresses of Insufficient Funding

Sanctuaries are struggling to take in primates as researchers and pet owners forgo euthanasia for better homes.


Oct. 23, 2014: Afternoon News in 90

A video roundup of local, state and national stories for readers in North Central Florida.


The Ocala City Council voted not to renew Matthew Brower's contract as city manager on Tuesday. Brower's current contract will expire on Dec. 21.

Ocala City Manager’s Contract Not Renewed

The request to reappoint Matthew Brower as Ocala’s city manager was rejected on a three-to-two vote by the Ocala City Council. Brower was appointed city manager in February 2011, and his contract will now expire on Dec. 21.


Victoria Rusinov administers FluMist to a child at the Control Flu clinic at Littlewood Elementary School.

CDC Studies Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Over Traditional Shot for Children

Recent studies suggests a nasal spray form of the flu vaccine is more effective than the flu shot in healthy children ages 2 to 8, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments