The Need A gathering of veterans from various service branches decided the war dead of Saline County and all people who served their country should be recognized and remembered for their service and sacrifice. This group resolved to build a memorial structure honoring these people.
The Idea The concept had been discussed by various people and Veterans organizations for many years. It was agreed that a special group of individuals interested in advancing this project should be formed. In February of 1992, the Salina-Saline County War Memorial Inc. was formed and instigated the initial plans for the constructions of a war memorial.
The Design Gene Hinde, a local architectural designer and Naval war veteran was selected to design the memorial. In conjunction with the Salina-Saline County War Memorial Committee the war memorial design was developed. The memorial consists of an eight-sided concrete monolith. Each of the sides contains a bronze plaque, which lists the names of those who gave their lives in the service of their country during wartime. POW, MIA and every branch of the services is recognized on the plaques. Dr. Richard Bergen, a local sculptor and Naval war veteran was selected to create the life size bronze eagle that crowns the memorial. This war eagle symbolizes the freedom of our nation.
The Site The committee visited all the parks in Salina and decided the most appropriate site for the memorial would be Sunset Park. The project was presented to the City of Salina and they approved the committee's selection.
Funding Initial funding was through donations by the committee members and various Veterans organizations. This was followed by several direct mail appeals for support, which proved very successful. At this point several firms were contacted for gifts in kind. Through this effort all the materials for the construction of the memorial were acquired.
The walk of Honor was created through the sale of inscribed bricks. This phase of the fundraising was very effective and the sale of bricks to individuals became the major funding initiative.
The "eagle" and one of the eight large bronze panels was funded by the City of Salina. The remaining panels were funded by various businesses, organizations, individuals and the citizens of Salina.
Dedication and Presentation The memorial was dedicated on June 5, 1994. This dedication date was chosen to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the D-day invasion of Normandy, which was celebrated on a national scale on June 6, 1994. On June 5, 1994, at approximately 2 p.m. the memorial was officially presented to the city by former Marine and Army Sergeant, Patrick F. O’Connor Jr., Salina-Saline County War Memorial Chairman.