Omro Veterans Memorial

....honor all who served.

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Memorial Design

The basic design for the memorial that I came up with remains intact. But it’s important to me to give credit to those who helped make it what it turned out to be. Our memorial committee of 10 Veterans who have been working two years helping smooth out the design and make it the best it could be. Our contractors who shared their expertise and put their hearts into making our Memorial the nicest one I have seen anywhere.

Let me start with the five panels. Numbered 1 through 5 in a clockwise direction starting at the main entrance of the memorial. I went with a pentagon for two reasons. The first is that our defense department building is in the shape of a pentagon. The second was to honor each branch of service separately. I didn’t want to connect the panels together I wanted an open concept so that visitors could walk between them and meander thru the Memorial any way that they wanted to. That way there would be no bottlenecks.

Each panel on the outside was given an emblem honoring a separate branch of service. These black granite discs where quarried in China. The granite came from the same quarry as the walls on the Viet Nam Memorial. Each emblem is 2 inches thick and 3 feet across weighing 740 pounds. The outside of panels 1 and 5 the two closest to the road display the Army and Navy emblems and are there because those are the largest branches of service and we have the most Veterans in our post from those branches of service. Panel 3 displays the Marine emblem on the outside became the panel honoring those killed or missing in action. We did that to honor Omro’s last two losses who were both Marines. Brent Vroman and Merlin Allen. Panel 2, which is toward the west displays the Coast Guard emblem and panel 4 facing the east has the Air Force emblem. We put the Air Force emblem on the east side because it gave them more visibility for passing traffic.

On the inside of the panels known as the “Circle of Honor” are the names engraved on 5 ft by10 ft granite panels. We each are proud of the branch of service in which we served that is shown by the emblems. But on the inside we are all Veterans, proud of our service to our country, proud to be together as one entity.

Panels 1,2,4&5 have room for a total of 1,750 names etched in 3/4 inch letters while panel 3 the panel honoring our killed in action and missing in action has room for 40 names. Currently panel 3 has 15 names. It will take many decades to run out of room on our Memorial.

The tops of the panels and the dais tablets are made of Baldor stone. This is a hard type of marble.

In the center is the American flag. By putting it there it joined all branches of service under one flag.

The daises are at the height they are so all people can view them and enjoy them. We wanted to make sure that people in wheel chairs could come and enjoy it also.

Dais one at the entrance of the Memorial tells a story. It tells visitors that we are proud and honored to have the names of our Veterans inside the “circle of Honor”. It talks of the pride and patriotism shared by Veterans. It lets us know that it’s because of their service that we are the greatest nation on earth and it talks of the pride we have for them.

Dais two is very powerful and moving. When you walk into the “Circle of Honor you first see the hundreds of names on the walls, then you look down at the dais and read it. The first line reads Oh, how our hearts ache now that you are gone. This gives a life to each name on the walls. They are no longer just names. It talks about the sacrifices that they made for the love of our country and our families. It says that it is because of their courage and patriotism that we can enjoy our freedoms. That is especially true of our WWII Veterans. And it gives a simple prayer offering them peace.

The walkway to the memorial is 11 ft wide giving ample room for visitors to come and go and room to display the ceremonial flags on Veteran’s holidays. All-Ways concrete stepped forward and offered to stamp the concrete inside the Memorial to greatly improve it’s appearance. The lighting that was planned for the Memorial had to be totally redone. We couldn’t find lighting fixtures that were able to do what we needed. Also we discovered that concrete, aluminum and Wisconsin winters didn’t get along. Russ Kleinschmidt with the help of an electrical engineer totally reconfigured our lighting for the Memorial. Making it both practical and attractive.

The final two elements of the Memorial are the retaining wall and landscaping. Once I found out that we had to actually raise the Memorial up in order to be above the road I thought that we should put a retaining wall around it. There are several reasons for that. It adds beauty to the memorial, It protects the trees around it, It adds a degree of protection from flooding and it serves to place our memorial on a pedestal. The landscaping with the trees, bushes and flowers adds greatly to the beauty of our Memorial. Eiden Property Management designed and installed our landscaping, retaining wall and sod. So that was the thought process that went into the design of the Memorial.

We had something very special happen in Omro, something that the entire community can be very proud of. What we did is the topic of conversation through out the entire state. Legion posts from all over are in awe of what this small farming community was able to do. Brent Vroman gave his life for his country and in doing so was the spark that made what happened possible. I have spent a lot of time at the Memorial both during the construction and afterwards and I have seen the feelings that come pouring out when people come down and see their loved ones on the panels. I’ve seen old men and young mothers weeping. People leave flowers in tribute of their loved ones. I’ve seen many pictures taken and people doing rubbings of their loved ones names. I don’t know if this could have happened anywhere else, but it happened here. We didn’t have any big corporate sponsors. It happened because Omro, a town of 3,400 cares about their Veterans.

We still have a daunting task ahead of us. That’s making sure we get as many Veterans as we can verified and on these panels where they belong. We need everyone’s help to get this job done. Please take the time to submit your loved ones name so we can put them where they belong, amongst their comrades in our “circle of Honor”.

Rick Deiss – Commander Post 234