BYRON – The Byron Veterans Memorial Renovation committee anticipates completion of the project at the Byron Township Cemetery, 405 E. 5th St,. by the end of November.
There have been some increases in cost and delays due to the pandemic’s impact on goods and services. But the committee is hopeful that moving forward, it will stay on schedule.
This entire project is possible due to a generous community and volunteers. Donations are still needed and appreciated. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to: Kiwanis Club of Byron Foundation, Attn: Veterans Memorial, PO Box 555, Byron, IL 61010. Credit card donations can be made online via the Facebook page: Byron Cemetery Veterans Memorial Renovation. All Individuals, civic groups, and businesses who donated will be listed on the granite donor recognition display.
The donor display will read: “In recognition of a generous Byron area Community who donated time, talent, and financial gifts to celebrate and honor America's Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. In Thanksgiving and prayer, we remember the stories of those who have served in war or peace…whether no longer with us, or who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces.”
Current Memorial progress includes pouring over 2,500 square feet of concrete, installing nine flagpoles and a below-grade luminaire LED spotlight (donated by Depot Electric Supply in Savanna), establishing electrical infrastructure for lighting and power (donated by Don Knight and DNR Electric in Dixon), and landscaping.
One goal for the memorial is to provide low maintenance in the future. After Neil Wills NW Concrete poured the cement pad and All American Flag Company installed the flagpoles, Byron Township provided black dirt so that Mike Jackson Landscaping could grade and spread grass seed. Volunteers added grass clippings to help retain moisture and arranged a network of timers, hoses, and sprinklers. Byron Public Works team was responsive and helpful with water access. In the spring of 2021, the cemetery lawn care crew will be able to mow and weed eat around the memorial during their regular maintenance.
Many steps remain for the rebuild, including placing the 5,000 pound howitzer onto the concrete pad, building, powder coating, and installing bases for the battlefield crosses, repairing, and returning existing granite memorial benches to the walkway, engraving and delivery of individual granite monuments for each military branch, receiving and installation of 10 LED pathway lights, receiving and sand blasting names, and delivery of the 4 foot x 8 foot jet back polished granite donor recognition monument.
The afternoon of Aug. 17th was an exciting celebration as we hosted the first flag raising. With many attending guests, seventeen area Veterans whose combined service is over 140yrs to our country, raised nine flags accompanied by the Star-Spangled Banner, military anthems, and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” In addition to the 25 foot American Flag, there are 20’ flagpoles for Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, POW/MIA, and Space Force.
The flag raising veterans included Exelon employees from E*MAC (Exelon Militaries Actively Connected), American Legion and Oregon VFW members, Central Region Submariners, and others who heard about the event from friends or read about it on the memorial Facebook page. To see photos and videos, learn more about the project, or watch progress, visit the Facebook page: Byron Cemetery Veterans Memorial Renovation.
The 2021 dedication ceremony will be planned the week after Veterans Day, with more details to come as the date approaches.
For questions, please contact Michelle: 815-985-5102 or [email protected]