COLUMBIA, Md (WMAR) — Howard County is one step closer to getting a new veterans monument with thousands of dollars in county and state funding announced Wednesday.
“These funds made possible by the State of Maryland and Howard County move us one step closer towards realizing the full beauty of this park and seeing the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument become a reality,” said Robert Gillette, President of the Howard County Veterans Foundation.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball joined the Howard County Veterans Foundation to announce $50,000 in county funding for the final design of the Howard County Veterans Monument, in addition to $350,000 in state bond funding that will be used towards construction.
“The Howard County Veterans Monument will provide a meaningful space for reflection, connection, and a renewed appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” said Ball.
“Every one of us has been touched by the commitment of veterans throughout our lives. It is so important to never forget that level of commitment that level of giving from our veterans," said Senator Guy Guzzone.
The monument will be prominently located at the Columbia lakefront in “Vivian C. ‘Millie’ Bailey” Neighborhood Square, named for the longtime Howard County resident and World War II veteran.
“About 5 years ago the proposal for a veterans monument was initiated, and it seemed a very bold project, but it stayed on our agenda,” said Robert Berlett of American Legion Post 300. “What guided us was the knowledge that while Howard County has many memorials there was not a veterans monument where all veterans and their families could gather. Now Howard County is at the final stages at having the veterans monument become a reality. For many years into the future, all veterans and their families will come to the Lakefront in downtown Columbia to celebrate the honor of being part of service to America.”
Not only will it honor veterans and active duty service members, but their families too.
"When a service member deploys, families carry on everyday life with a void," said Gillette.
Gillette hopes it serves as a place of celebration, reunion, and reflection for those who were never reunited with their loved ones.
"We hope this will be a place of healing for you. A place to come remember the one you lost with hearts of joy and pride," said Gillette.
The Foundation is also launching a capital campaign to raise additional funding, with the goal of completing the design of the monument by November 2021 and the installation by Memorial Day 2023. The Foundation was founded in 2016 with the intention to design, develop, and install a Veterans Monument to honor Howard County veterans and military families.