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The current memorial, seen on a rainy day in June 2019.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says she’s begun discussions with veterans groups about finding a new site for Evanston’s veterans memorial now located in Fountain Square.

Kelly told residents at a 1st Ward meeting Thursday night that she’s met with representatives of the American Legion Evanston Post 42 about the issue and that a committee has been formed to discuss the idea.

She said the veterans are seeking to create “a better space for reflection, reverence and acknowledgement” of the military personnel who lost their lives in the nation’s wars.

A Memorial Day ceremony at Patriots Park in 2017.

Kelly said one site under consideration is Patriots Park on the Evanston lakefront at Davis Street.

The park already has a flag pole with a base that memorializes Evanstonians who lost their lives in conflicts from the Civil War through World War I.

It was supplanted by Fountain Square as the location for the city’s primary memorial to veterans after World War II.

The 1950s vintage memorial in Fountain Square.

That memorial was dedicated in 1951 during a visit to Evanston by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, which was covered by local radio station WNMP.

Fountain Square has been redesigned twice since then, and, during the construction of the current fountain, ceremonies, including the 2017 and 2018 Memorial Day programs, returned to Patriots Park.

The continuing problems with getting the new fountain in the square to work properly may be a factor in the discussion about finding a new location for the memorial.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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8 Comments

  1. What a sad reflection on the state of City management – why not put the glossy names display up on a big flatbed truck and drive it around with patriotic music on Memorial Day and the 4th? These were young men who gave their ALL: it was always right that their memorial be centered in the heart of the town, a place of resonant solemnity and calm remembrance, not a cheesy, splashy picnic ground. That plumbing problem in the “Fountain Square” of Evanston is a thoughtless fiasco, a dishonor to the memory of local war dead.

  2. The current memorial at fountain square is an insulting disgrace to Evanston veterans that paid the ultimate price—-thank you Ald Kelly for helping assist potential move to Patriots Park—-a logical move to a peaceful, tasteful and respectful location..And include a statue memorializing iconic Evanston veteran Allen “Bo” Price

  3. Seeing the memorial on regular walks downtown is a reminder of the reality of the sacrifices made for our freedoms. Patriot’s park is pretty and peaceful, but not a place where people walk all four seasons of the year. When the fountains become functional again and people picnic and children play, I see no real issue with the shared space. I’m one of those folks who grew up when most everyone’s dad had served in WWII. Those guys were the center of our lives in real time. And these veteran’s of some of the most horrific battles of that war thoughtfully and gratefully celebrated their Memorial Days, both as a remembrance of their own trauma and their fellow service members who did not come home, and with thankfulness that they themselves could be reunited with their loved ones. After the parade which itself was sometimes somber and sometimes silly, and the 21 gun salute at the memorial built in front of our town’s Jr. high, these dads would be having picnics with their families while watching their kids running around in circles. I know my dad would not have seen a conflict with the shared use of this space.

  4. As one who served in the US Marine Corps six years, I was profoundly moved when I saw the prior memorial by accident, strolling downtown as I had just mover here in 1990. I wonder if I would have ever seen it if it was in Patriots Park. I like it right where it is. Evanston is a city where many come to visit, many others from all over live here a few years as they attend Northwestern. They cannot help but notice. This Memorial has a purpose, to remind all of us about the dedication many Evanstonians had for their country. Do you know your history? Look at the names of many of our streets! Sadly, it will grow larger in the future. I have always been proud it is there. It belongs right where it is.
    Semper-fi!

  5. As a lifetime resident and member of a family that has lived in Evanston continuously for over 100 years, I am truly saddened to see how attitudes have changed in this community. It is very discouraging to see the disrespect being shown to those whose names are etched on the Memorial, and for their sacrifice. The Memorial not a glorification of war, but a way to recognize those Evanstonians who answered the call to duty and to serve their country, and did not return. To see the perception of this hallowed ground devolve into a petty squabble between the interests of real estate developers and attempts to evade responsibility for a flawed construction design and execution is all the more disheartening. Fix the fountain, correct the mistakes, and leave it where it is.

  6. I have several friends who lost their lives in Vietnam. Their names appear on the war memorial that I pass by frequently and I am always reminded of their sacrifice. As lovely as Patriots Park is, it is seldom visited by anyone. I am pleased that the memorial is where it is….in the middle of our town for all to see and perhaps reflect on the price we pay for freedom.

  7. I like the War Memorial right where it is. We all need to be reminded what price these
    guys paid for our freedom. Just seeing it helps me do this.
    Interesting to recall why that beautiful fountain, now in the back of the Rose Garden,
    was ever moved! We now have the fountain mess we have. Makes one think.

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