November 2011

Places of Peace in Honor of Iowa’s Veterans

For several decades, Iowa has honored its veterans by erecting stunning memorials and monuments. These places offer quiet surroundings where you can pay homage to America’s heroes.
 
Hopkinton, Iowa was once home to Lenox College (previously named Bowen Collegiate Institute), which operated from 1859 to 1944. During the Civil War, several students enlisted in the Union Army, and the Civil War Monument now stands in their honor. Dedicated in 1865, the monument is one of the oldest in the country, yet visitors can still see most of the inscriptions. Notable students include the only female Medal of Honor recipient, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. Today, several Lenox buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can find the Civil War Monument in the central courtyard. The surrounding walkways and benches are perfect places to take a moment to reflect upon the bravery of these young soldiers. You can find a photo of this stunning white memorial at www.iowacivilwarmonuments.com/cgi-bin/gaarddetails.pl?1212022215~2k.
 
In 1984, a group of students from Harding Junior High School in Des Moines helped establish the Korean War Memorial. The monument was dedicated by Governor Terry Branstad on May 28, 1989, and is located on a beautiful stretch of grass just south of the state Capitol. A 14-foot-tall central obelisk stands surrounded by eight six-foot-tall tablets, each of which tell a story about the war with words, pictures and maps. Spend some time walking around each granite piece, as well as the nearby stately trees and Capitol grounds. Learn more about the Korean War Memorial at www.legis.iowa.gov/Resources/Tour/capitolMonument.aspx?page=koreanwarmemorial.
 
Modeled after Washington, D.C.’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Iowa Vietnam War Monument is an inspiring display of both patriotism and art. The polished black surface has a mirror-like quality that complements the monument’s main inscription, “A Reflection of Hope.” The project was initiated by the Iowa Vietnam Commission and Jacqueline Day, from Des Moines, whose son was seriously injured in Vietnam. Iowa residents helped raise $85,000 for the project, and it now serves as a tranquil place for visitors. The Iowa Vietnam War Monumentwas dedicated on Memorial Day in 1984 and displays the names of all the courageous hometown heroes. See a picture of this beautiful memorial and find information about other Capitol monuments at www.legis.iowa.gov/Resources/Tour/capitolMonument.aspx?page=vietnamwarmonument.
 
Take some time this month to pay tribute to America’s servicemen and women. Visit www.traveliowa.com for more monument locations and descriptions.