Through events such as the Washington D.C. trip in 2007 and the Waconia Veterans Appreciation Weekend this summer, the Waconia Lions Club has demonstrated its strong support for area veterans. The Lions are continuing that tradition with a special flag project that will enhance City Square Park in Waconia.
In recent months, the Lions have been working on a project that will result in the installation of five flag poles at the park. The poles will be equally spaced around the concrete circle located in the middle of the park that currently displays the U.S. flag and veterans monuments. The new poles, which will feature internal crank mechanisms, will display the flags of the five military branches — Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines.
The project includes some landscaping, lighting, a pillar with the Lions logo, and other aspects, such as a new decorative gold ball to replace the one that’s currently missing on top of the U.S. flag pole.
“It’s a pretty exciting project,” said Lion Chuck Schmidt, who is heading up the project for the Lions. “It will look beautiful when it’s done.”
The Lions are donating approximately $8,000 to the city to complete the project, which got its start during the veterans weekend this summer. For that event, the Lions acquired flags of the five military branches to use during the softball tournament. At the end of the weekend, the Lions looked for a way to continue to display the flags of the different branches and doing so at City Square Park was discussed. After exploring the idea with city officials, the project was approved and it has taken off from there.
After months of work by the city and the Lions, the poles were scheduled to be installed this week.
The flags will come courtesy of the Waconia VFW, which will purchase and maintain outdoor flags for each of the five branches. The size of each flag will be 4 x 5 feet. The Lions will provide the smaller flags of the five branches it used earlier this summer to the VFW and Waconia American Legion.
“The VFW sincerely thanks the Lions and the city of Waconia for putting up the five new flag poles and we were more than happy to donate the service flags for them,” commented Craig Jongerius, commander of the VFW.
A dedication ceremony to celebrate the newly completed project will be held at the park at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, which appropriately is Veterans Day. Veterans and members of the community are encouraged to attend the event, which will include musical selections performed by the Waconia High School Band, a message by Mayor Jim Nash, and refreshments (cider and hot chocolate, etc.). Veterans will be encouraged to stand by the flag pole of their respective military branch while its flag is raised for the first time.
“We’d really like to get a good crowd out there on the 11th,” Schmidt said.
Nash was happy that the city was able to partner with the Lions on the project.
“I’m pleased that the city was able to participate in several significant levels of this fantastic project,” he said. “Honoring our military men and women is important to all of us and we will always make every effort to pay proper tribute to those that have served, and those who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country.”
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]