Lisle residents want to build more visible, accessible veterans memorial
Lisle residents working to help village build a more accessible memorial to veterans
A new Lisle Veterans Memorial moved a step closer to reality recently with the creation of a conceptual drawing of the proposed project.
"Back in 2007, we began talking about the Lisle Veterans Memorial and that the existing memorial (in Lisle Commmunity Park) was out of the way and basically not used," said Don Cook, a steering committee member and president of the Lisle Park District board. "We got together with the village and started to talk about it when the recession hit, and we put the thought back on the shelf for a while."
On Sept. 15, 2015, at an open-invitation meeting, the current steering committee introduced a proposal for a new Lisle Veterans Memorial to the community. Lisle residents Karen and Dan Burris and Kim and Larry Carlson shared with those in attendance their efforts to generate grassroots support.
"Visibility and accessibility are the problems with the current memorial," park district Director Dan Garvy said. "It is located 800 or 900 feet off Short Street (in Lisle Community Park), down a path and up a slight grade, so anyone with mobility issues has a hard time getting to it."
Some Lisle residents were not aware of the current memorial, built in 1988-89, because it is tucked in near the stone bridge in Lisle Community Park. The committee hopes to reuse the three flag poles and remount the granite seals honoring all five branches of United States military from the existing memorial into the new design.
"The thought that goes into shaping the memorial, trying to make it unique to the community, is a reflection of how meaningful the service and sacrifice of veterans was to the residents," said Brett Nila, past commander of Lisle Ross Bishop VFW Post 5696. "I think the fact that Lisle is planning a new memorial, to replace one that turned out to be in an obscure location, already says a lot about the degree of meaning that Lisle residents place in veteran service and sacrifice."
The new site-selection committee evaluated several locations before deciding on a spot in the heart of Lisle and along the village's annual Memorial Day Parade route, Kim Carlson said. The Lisle Park District owns the property on the southeast corner of Center Avenue and School Street, adjacent to the Museums at Lisle Station Park.
"The Lisle committee avoided putting the memorial on Main Street so that visitors might have a little solitude for reflection at the new site," Karen Burris said.
The location just north of the Lisle train station is also symbolic. During World War II and in the Vietnam War, many Lisle fathers, brothers and relatives traveled by train from Lisle to a Chicago recruiting station.
"When we were drafted into the service, many veterans would go to the Lisle train station to buy their one-way ticket to downtown Chicago," said Dan Burris, who explained that the recruiting station was close to Union Station in Chicago. "You walked to it and got everything done; you raised your right hand and then you were on the plane headed to training."
People need to know the history of Lisle and its veterans, and veterans need to know that people are still interested and appreciate their service then and now. The new memorial could serve that purpose by offering 1,300 bricks donors can engrave to thank past, present or future veterans in a meaningful way. General messages such as "Thank you, veterans" also are possible. Honorees do not need to be Lisle residents. This is a chance to honor all who served, regardless of whether they were involved in a war or major conflict. All respectful inquiries are welcomed.
The estimated total cost of the new memorial is $73,000. All necessary funds need to be in place by June 1 and before on-site construction begins. The Lisle Partners for Parks Foundation is the fundraising arm of this effort and tax-exempt. Details are at lisleparkdistrict.org.
Volunteers are encouraged to contact Karen Burris at LisleVeteransMemorial@gmail.com. Veterans unable to afford an engraved brick may contact Burris -- a Lisle Boy Scout troop and others community members have offered to purchase bricks in their honor. Brick order forms are available at the Lisle Park District and at local merchants.
No donation is too small or too large. Donations of $5 to $99 will be recognized in the Lisle Park District's 2017 recreation brochure; $100 is for a 4-inch-by-8-inch engraved paver brick; $200 is for an 8-inch-by-8-inch engraved paver brick; donors of $500 to $5,000 will have their names on the on-site donor wall and up to two 8-inch-square engraved bricks.
Other donations can cover expenses for benches and plant materials. For a variety of in-kind donations of materials and labor, contact Garvy or Lisa Leone, park district operations superintendent, at (630) 964-3410. The Signature Design Group and architect Greg Sagen are donating their services on the project.
Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2016, is the target date for the memorial's dedication.
Many on the steering committee that includes Karen and Dan Burris, Kim and Larry Carlson, Don Cook, Dan Garvy, Lisa Leone and Angie Remigio are veterans or have loved ones serving, retired from the armed services, or killed while in the service. This column is respectfully dedicated in memory of Karen and Dan Burris's son, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Burris, Naval Special Warfare Group One, Mobile Communications Team One, SEAL Team Seven, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, who grew up in Lisle and incredibly touched the lives of many in his 22 years.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. Her column appears regularly in Neighbor.
Lisle Veterans Memorial fundraisersSeveral local restaurants will donate proceeds from sales on certain days when diners mention the Lisle Veterans Memorial before ordering. Here's when and where you can dine out to donate:
• Evviva!, 1017 Front St., all day Thursday, April 21
• Culver's, 2500 Ogden Ave., 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 27
• Paisans, 2901 Ogden Ave., all day Thursday, May 5
• Wheatstack, 5900 Route 53, all day Friday, May 13
• Chipotle, 1516 Naper Blvd., 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 16
• Passaro's Pizza, 5328 Route 53, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19
• Rayme's, 4801 Route 53, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 9