A Historic All Veterans’ Memorial:
Built by Veterans for Veterans Located in Clear Lake, Wisconsin
Visit an All Veterans’ Memorial set in the rolling peaceful countryside of Western Wisconsin. It commemorates all veterans with ties to the Clear Lake region. Authenticity of names and dates for each veteran is inscribed on one of five gray granite monuments. These 5 gray stones form a circle with a Black Cenotaph Monument in the center. On the Cenotaph are engraved the names of 65 veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Visitors are welcome at this unique all Veterans’ Memorial. Most Veterans’ Memorials restrict their purpose to one time period (Korea), one group (Killed in Action or KIA) or some other honor. The Clear Lake All Veterans’ Memorial does all of these honors, and adds the dimension of inclusiveness. Starting with known names before 1861, over 1900 veterans have been commemorated on this memorial. . The only criteria to have your name on the Memorial is honorable service to our nation with a connective tie to Regional Clear Lake area.
No rank or distinction is ordered to place your name on the Gray Memorial, but rather the names are non-alphabetically and non-chronologically inscribed. For example, a Civil War Alexander may be next to a Afghanistan-Iraqi Freedom Veteran. The simplicity of this ranking allows additional names to be added at later dates and thus maintaining the Memorial’s uniqueness and fairness!
The Memorial’s setting is in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) parade ground within the Clear Lake cemetery. The Grand Army of the Republic was an organization comprised of veterans of the Union Army who served in the Civil War (1861-85). Those Union visionaries had the foresight to lay out over 15,000 square feet of choice land area in the cemetery proper. The rectangular shape allows the Veterans’ Memorial adequate space on which to be built.
An historic fact about the Clear Lake All Veterans’ Memorial is that a Pearl Harbor victim is buried here. By noting this fact, Clear Lake Veterans’ Memorial is one among the restricted few public cemeteries in the continental United States with that distinction. On December 7th, 1941 our nation was deliberately attacked by Japan. About 2500 men and women were killed that day. This treacherous incident drew our nation into four long years of war against the axis powers of Japan, Germany, and Italy.
How the Memorial was Constructed
Clear Lake, Wisconsin All Veterans’ Memorial Three thousand, three hundred square feet of granite heritage stone blocks with donor names inscribed lead into the memorial proper. It was through the foresight of these donors that all necessary funds were raised to build this memorial. A black India granite tablet with 65 KIA’s inscribed is the centerpiece of this edifice and it accentuates the solemnity of the memorial proper! Complimenting the KIA monument are 5 polished granite tablets on which are carved the names of over 1900 area men and women veterans with Clear Lake ties.
Supporting the Memorial proper are 2 American and 6 service flag poles. Because of the Memorial’s geometric shape, the flag poles help define its shape. However, 15 stone seating benches provide additional perimeter definition for the memorial proper. A beautiful royal blue directory provides historic and written data as you enter the memorial. Names, dates, building facts, etc. are arranged for easy reader access. This knowledge will help prepare a visitor for what the Veterans’ Memorial is all about.
Beyond the directory is a 15 feet high by 15 feet wide royal blue scrolled steel archway. This beautiful masterpiece defines the memorial entrance. Just beyond the archway is a beautifully restored Civil War monument. Although this is an all veterans’ memorial, the Civil War monument has been placed in the memorial proper to give an historic perspective! Moving further into the memorial proper, one walks on the granite heritage stones which cover 3300 square feet of surface. These inscribed granites are one of the memorial’s main features. Hundreds of donor names are engraved for posterity’s sake. Future generations will have the opportunity to find the name(s) of a relative or friend, for inscribed on these heritage blocks is a piece of history for all to see and remember.
Directions to the Memorial
The memorial is accessible from U.S. Hwy 63 which passes through Clear Lake. Turn East on Veterans’ Memorial Drive and it is 1/2 mile on the right. Visiting hours are 7 days a week and the memorial is lighted for evening viewing. During the winter snow season, the surface is not cleaned to prevent possible surface damage.