New statues honor local veterans
The City of Waterloo recently installed a collection of statues at Lakeview Park intended to honor American war veterans through the past century.
The four statues currently set up at the park depict World War I, World War II and Vietnam War veterans along with a female Afghanistan War veteran.
Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith said he’s been on the lookout for statues like this for years, having seen similar memorials set up in other communities.
“I always thought it would look good to have like an honor guard walking up to our flags and monuments out there,” Smith said.
According to Smith, the copper statues cost a little less than $5,000 each from the city’s video gambling revenues.
While the city did consider bronze statues, they were well beyond the available budget at $40,000 to $100,000 each.
The installation had been the subject of some unrest in the community, with a few individuals voicing frustrations at the lack of representation for Korean War veterans.
Smith said the reason for this is simply because the company the statues were purchased from didn’t have one available at the time.
“My dad was a Korean War veteran,” Smith said. “They didn’t have one listed for the Korean War, so I couldn’t get one, but I still wanted to get the statues while we had the funds available.”
Smith added there are currently plans to add a Korean War veteran statue along with one for the Navy and another for the Air Force in the near future.
Smith expressed a particular pride at the inclusion of a statue for modern female military veterans, noting that they tend to be ignored when veterans are recognized.
“There’s nobody around here that has one that recognizes our female veterans, and I thought it was important that we have one for them,” Smith said.
This year’s Veterans Day program at Waterloo High School, Smith said, will place a special focus on women in the armed forces.
The Nov. 10 event will feature a list of female veterans to be recognized.
Following the program, a wreath laying at the Lakeview Park Veterans Memorial, along with a dedication of the female statue will take place at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11.