In times of war and in times of peace, throughout the history of our nation, and in every branch of the service, our friends, neighbors, and our loved ones have answered the call. We honor these heroes.
The Northfield Area Veterans Memorial stands as a tribute not only to the veterans it honors, but also to the years of dedicated effort on the part of the volunteer leaders, committee members and others who have worked tirelessly to make the Memorial a reality.
The idea of a Veterans Memorial recognizing the sacrifices and service of the men and women of the greater Northfield community had been a dream of many Northfielders for years. In November 1998, the local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion voted to approve the concept of establishing a Memorial. A Veterans Park Committee was formed to develop a plan and enlist community support. By May 1999, the committee was ready to formally request the involvement of the City of Northfield, which responded with a resolution in December 1999, establishing the Veterans Memorial Trust Fund for the sole purchase of accumulating and investing contributions to support the project.
In February 2000, the committee met with the Northfield Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) to begin the long process of dedicating city park land to the Memorial project. Over the next two years, the committee engaged designer Jeff Anderson, and worked with the PRAB to identify a site for the Memorial on the west side of the Cannon River. By late 2003, however, an alternative site was identified — Riverside Lions Park. With the support of the Northfield Lions Club, a request was made to the PRAB, and eventually to the City Council, to officially designate a portion of the park to the Northfield Area Veterans Memorial.
Community fund raising began in earnest, with members of the planning committee soliciting contributions from area businesses and service clubs, as well as individual donors. A second effort was launched to solicit donations sponsoring individually engraved paving stones honoring veterans from the Civil War to the present, and from any branch of the military. Paving stone sponsorship has been wildly successful. At the time of dedication (November 11, 2005), more than 750 engraved paving stones had been sponsored. Following the ceremony, an additional 150 paving stone orders were placed.
The Northfield Area Veterans Memorial was designed as a living tribute, with additional space for paving stones honoring past veterans, as well as veterans who serve in the future. We invite continued participation keeping the spirit of this Memorial — and the memories of the veterans it honors — alive.