As a class project students at Lake Geneva's Badger High School want to renovate a Veterans memorial in Library Park near the lake's shore. I think it's a great idea and their vision for "to place the headstone on a semi-circular retaining wall, erect three flags and surround the memorial with a brick plaza" would make for a tasteful monument. The students say that "Anything that gets it more visible … would be an improvement."
Unfortunately, the Lake Geneva City Council has killed the students' plans twice. According to at least two council members, "less is more." Apparently, they want "a quiet spot deserving quiet attention."
One of the students, Mikki Smoller, said "(The council is) running around all these different ideas—'what if,' 'what if,'—and we don't have time to deal with what ifs." Their goal is to be completed before the summer break - maybe even in time for Memorial Day.
Veterans memorials should indeed be hallowed shrines, but they should not be tucked away where no one can see them. I think it is a tragedy that the national WWI memorial is tucked away, off to the side of the National Mall, where very few people even know it is there.
It is my belief that every memorial should be required to have at least the American flag and a POW/MIA flag. The statements of the council members would suggest that they want the memorial to remain obscure and unseen.
The students want to make the memorial something of which the community can be proud. The students should be thanked and praised for their persistence for a project in which they believe. Some of the most moving memorials I have seen are in small community parks. Even the larger ones, like Janesville's Veterans memorial at Traxler Park, are still "quiet spots" that invoke quiet reflection.
The students have already raised $12,000 of the estimated costs of $16,000. They have shown a great commitment to the project. The Lake Geneva City Council should approve the students' plans. To continue to allow the memorial to stand in disrepair is wrong.