Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer said the goal is to have a dedication of the memorial on Memorial Day 2021, but hopes construction will be completed before then. Schommer said he hopes construction starts by the end of this year.
The monument will include a pillar for each branch of the military, including the newly added Space Force.
“We don’t have any veterans from this branch yet, but we wanted to honor future veterans,” said Col. Jeffery Johnson, a non-voting member of the Huber Heights Military and Veterans Commission and a 30-year Air Force veteran.
The Military and Veterans Commission was formed in 2019 and tasked with finding a location for the memorial within the city. The commission now serves as advisory board as the city approves design and other aspects of the memorial, Johnson said.
Johnson said the project will be unique from other veterans memorials in the Miami Valley because there will be three pieces to the memorial. First are the pillars. Secondly, there will be several walkways with educational information along the path for visitors to read about the wars and conflicts the U.S. has been a part of, starting with World War I.
Johnson said the city plans to also honor Huber Heights-area veterans who were involved in these conflicts by name. Along the pathway there will either be plaques or reading boards and “mini monuments.”
At the end of the walkway portion of the memorial there will be a place for quiet reflection.
“We wanted to make this a living memorial,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he thinks the Huber Heights memorial’s proximity to the U.S. Air Force Museum will add to the draw to the site.
“We’ve talked with local veterans and they all seem very excited to see it happening,” Johnson said. “I’m most excited about the inclusiveness of it. We’ve tried to capture unique things about serving in the military in the design.”
The commission prefers that a veteran-friendly or veteran-owned business take on the memorial project, but Johnson said that is up to city council.
Johnson said the commission is considering projects to help fund and sustain the memorial. One project could be getting community members to buy bricks they can engrave that will be part of the memorial.
“I would encourage folks to keep their ear to the ground, we’re probably going to look for community and corporate help soon,” Johnson said.