The Wanamingo VFW and Honor Guard have been working hard since last July to raise $40,000 for a six-foot cast bronze sculpture, to honor those who have served.
The new sculpture, entitled ‘Freedom is Not Free,’ will recognize military members on land, air and sea who have served from the Revolutionary War to present day. It is expected to be placed at the memorial by Wanamingo’s Fourth of July celebration.
This sculpture will be unique to the area, because creator Marianne Caroselli only allows one of this particular monument per state. It will be mounted on a black granite pedestal and placed in the current Wanamingo Veterans Memorial near the entrance of Veterans Memorial Athletic Field.
Caroselli has been sculpting and painting for 30 years. Her work ranges from table size to life size, with subjects from children, wildlife, horses, westerns and native Americans.
The Wanamingo Veterans Memorial was dedicated Sept. 21, 2013. At the center of the memorial is a black monument with names of all prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action from Goodhue County.
What initially began as a plan to put up a bigger flagpole, soon turned into an opportunity to honor all of Goodhue County’s POWs and MIAs and all veterans who have served. The memorial also serves as a place for those to remember and reflect.
In 1952, World War I and World War II veterans raised money to purchase land where the veterans memorial and memorial field are located.
“[The memorial] is unique because it’s the land the VFW gave to the school. Land donation was a big deal back then,” said Wanamingo VFW Quamme Post #186 Commander Gary Floan.
The city of Wanamingo played an active role in the construction phase and dedication ceremony to assist in keeping costs to a minimum. Veterans memorial committee member, Larry Van DeWalker recalls the way the community came together for the project, stating that it really shows how much the residents of Wanamingo appreciate the sacrifices veterans have made.
Surrounding the walkway of the memorial and the flagpole are pavers listing names of area veterans. To date, space remains for 60 veteran pavers until full capacity is met at 288. To be eligible for a paver, a veteran must have served honorably any time from the Revolutionary War to the present. Those currently serving in the United States’ Armed Forces or with U.S. allies are also eligible.