Please take a few moments today, tonight, this week, to appreciate all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. So many of us truly don’t understand the cost our military has endured, and what the families left behind have lost. Regardless of your political views on war, these men and women have fought and died defending our country, and we owe them more than we can ever repay.
On an extremely personal note, I wanted to share with you my involvement with the Colorado Freedom Memorial. (www.cfmf.net) This will be the first Monument in America to honor local veterans of all wars, by name, in one place. Regardless of one’s rank, one’s branch of service, and one’s generation of conflict – giving your life for your country is the highest price to be paid.
The Colorado Freedom Memorial will be constructed of glass that will reflect Colorado’s mountains and blue skies. It will be approximately 14-feet tall and 100-feet wide. Each of the names of the over 6,000 Coloradans killed or missing in action will be etched in the glass panels dedicated to the specific war in which they fought. In the case of the MIA’s, their names will be etched in a special panel of glass. Each entry will contain the individual’s name and hometown. As the visitor looks at the glass, it will reflect back his/her own image so that the visitor actually becomes a part of the memorial. The height of the glass and the reflected surroundings will seem to loom over the visitor and then fade away—all symbolic of service men and women falling in action. The wars represented in this stunning monument are all separated from Colorado by water. To maintain that division, a stream of water moves along the walking path between the visitor and the memorial wall. Marble markers like those found in military cemeteries around the world will be located behind the glass. The memorial will be located on a two-acre parcel near Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.
Some history of the project: In January of 2001 the first meeting was held to begin the process of building the Colorado Freedom Memorial. We were off and running with big dreams for the only memorial in America to include names of those killed in action from all branches of service and all wars in one monument. Surely this would be a slam dunk since everyone would realize the need for such a tribute. By August of 2001 everything seemed in place to begin an aggressive fund-raising campaign, and then came September 11, 2001. After the attacks of 9/11 we realized it was no longer the appropriate time to be seeking donations. For all practical purposes the Colorado Freedom Memorial campaign was shelved for the next 3+ years.
Finally, in February 2005, it felt like the time had come to re-energize the effort to build the Colorado Freedom Memorial. Patriotism was at an all time high with an outpouring of support for the troops fighting, and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. At that time some 30 men from Colorado had been killed in action and the importance of honoring their sacrifice was obvious to us all. We held several special events including concerts, motorcycle rides and a radiothon at KEZW-AM 1430. Enthusiasm for the CFM was at an all-time high. We put a sign up near the corner of Alameda and Airport Blvd in Aurora to indicate where the Memorial would be built. How long could it possibly take to raise $1 million dollars in this environment? Once again, the world had other plans. Along came the recession and the worst economy our generation had seen. Giving to non-profits plummeted and like after the events of 9/11, the Colorado Freedom Memorial became a secondary thought. Hard to make contributions when you’re trying to keep your business doors open, or put food on the family table. Once again we found ourselves doing all we could to keep moving forward during a difficult time.
So, here we are in 2010 and we are praying the 3rd time is a charm. Once again people seem to be receptive to our message that we cannot forget the sacrifice made by Colorado veterans for our freedom. We cannot let the families of those left behind feel we have forgotten the sacrifice they’ve made for us. Now, more than ever, we need your help. I ask that you take a few minutes today to help me support this project. Obviously you can donate money, but you can also support this worthy cause by donating some time as well. If you know people, corporations or foundations that we could contact to be contributors, please let us know. Be a spokesperson for the Colorado Freedom Memorial and invite people you know to sign up for our newsletter, or check us out of facebook.
Become a fan of our facebook page – Colorado Freedom Memorial – or join our facebook group – Friends of the Colorado Freedom Memorial – or even just help spread the word to others in conversation. We will take any help we can get! We need everyone spreading the word about what we’re trying to do to as many people as possible. In all that sharing of information we’ll turn over the one stone that holds the key to success. It’s time.