Breaking News Bar
updated: 11/12/2011 5:30 PM

Arlington Heights unveils Memorial Park sculpture

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Nearly 200 people showed up Saturday at Arlington Heights' Memorial Park for the unveiling of a 15-foot bronze sculpture entitled "Eternal Flame" dedicated to the military service of all the village's veterans and their families.

       Nearly 200 people showed up Saturday at Arlington Heights' Memorial Park for the unveiling of a 15-foot bronze sculpture entitled "Eternal Flame" dedicated to the military service of all the village's veterans and their families.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Local artist Fran Volz was selected from among 40 artists nationwide to create the statue that was unveiled Saturday at Arlington Heights' Memorial Park. Members of the selection group had no idea they had picked a local artist until after the choice was made.

       Local artist Fran Volz was selected from among 40 artists nationwide to create the statue that was unveiled Saturday at Arlington Heights' Memorial Park. Members of the selection group had no idea they had picked a local artist until after the choice was made.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Greg Padovani got his wish almost immediately.

The chairman of the Arlington Heights Drive to Revive Memorial Park Committee said during Saturday's "Eternal Flame" sculpture unveiling that he wants the park to be a "living memorial to honor the sacrifice of our military veterans and their families."

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

And as soon as the hourlong program wrapped up, veterans and family members began swapping stories about many of the village's veterans, whose names are etched into the brick pavers surrounding the new sculpture.

"It all came out perfectly," Padovani said. "So many people worked so hard to make it as beautiful as it is."

Among the scores of names listed on pavers are 58 of the village's sons who were killed in wars dating back to the Civil War.

Janet Sorensen of Palatine was seeking out the two bricks that bear the name of her uncle Richard J. Adam. One was installed by the committee. The other carries the words "Soldier Son," and was placed in the walkway leading to the sculpture.

"It's really his only memorial," Sorensen said.

The Army Air Corps corporal was killed in November 1943 when the British ship he was being transported on was sunk during a German air attack in the Mediterranean Sea near Algeria. In all, more than 1,000 American troops were killed when the HMT Rohna was sunk. Adam's body was never recovered. Additionally, the 26-year-old's death would be shrouded in secrecy for years because it involved the first known use of a guided bomb by the Germans.

"When I was in grade school, I found a box of letters he'd written my grandmother -- his mother -- during the war in the attic of her house and I sat there and read them all and cried," Sorensen recalled. "He signed them all, 'Your Soldier Son.'"

Some 200 veterans, family members and residents from around the area showed up at Saturday's sculpture unveiling. The mammoth 15-foot bronze flame created by local artist Fran Volz is modeled after the Eternal Flame at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The design was chosen by the committee from about 40 submissions by artists from around the country. It wasn't until the committee chose Volz's design that they realized they'd picked a hometown artist.

"It was actually a passion," Volz said of the creative process. "I thought, 'What would a flame look like in statue form?'"

The final result pleased everyone involved.

"The gift of service and sacrifice of our veterans is eternal," Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder said during the ceremony. "We are dedicating an everlasting testament to honor and remember every veteran."

Work to renovate the park, at the southwest corner of Fremont Street and Chestnut Avenue, has been ongoing since 2006. That first phase cost roughly $172,000 and was paid off before the committee embarked on the phase to create the sculpture and surrounding garden, which came with a price tag of $110,000. Much of the cost was covered by donations, officials said. Some came from tax dollars.

The committee is hoping to install lighting along the walkways that lead to the sculpture in the next phase.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here