For 110 years, the historic Soldiers & Sailors Veterans Memorial has greeted visitors to the Flushing Cemetery. Flushing has always been a patriotic town and many veterans ... from the civil war onward ... are buried in the cemetery. Every Memorial Day, community services are held there to commemorate the sacrifices made by veterans.
The towering statue of a civil war soldier is the centerpiece of the cemetery. Like many old soldiers, he looks good from a distance, but up close he showed the ravages of aging. When spring 2016 arrived, the concrete steps and base of the statue showed more damage from the winter's cold. That's when John Howe took action.
The Commander of Flushing American Legion Post #283, Howe was determined to freshen up the Memorial. He presented the idea to the Flushing City Council. He asked the Council if he could work with the City to rally local veterans and patriotic citizens in raising money to accomplish the restoration.
"Working together we must assure that this part of Flushing history continues to stand as a reminder to all citizens of the contribution and sacrifice of our veterans," Howe told the Council.
With Council's approval, Howe set a goal to raise $9,800 by September 11, 2016. With Legion members already on board, it didn't take long for other veterans groups to join in the effort. Flushing Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #5660, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and the Vietnam Veterans of America all contributed to the cause. Local service clubs were approached, and citizens gave as well. A $1,500 grant from the Flushing Area Community Fund put them over the top.
By October the statue restoration was completed and grass around the Memorial was planted just in time for Veterans Day ceremonies on November 11.
"The Memorial guards the heritage of our country. We want it to stand for another 110 years so our children's children will remember the sacrifices made," Howe said. "It's important that future generations can appreciate what's been done to preserve our freedom."