Richard Johnson, retired Marine colonel, appeared before the Goodhue County Board Tuesday, Oct. 1, to present his plan to install a Purple Heart monument in Red Wing's John Rich Park, just south of the Veterans Memorial.
Johnson saw a similar monument in Huntsville, Ala., and envisioned it would be a good way to honor the Purple Heart recipients from Red Wing.
“I thought, after I saw that, how appropriate it would be to place that at the vicinity, or close by our Goodhue County Veterans Memorial. We have 318 names on the plaques there," Johnson explained.
The Purple Heart memorial will be 3-by-5-feet and made of red stone with the symbol of the Purple Heart. The text on the memorial's front will read:
My stone is red for
the blood they shed
The medal I bear
Is my country's way
To show they care
If I could be seen
By all mankind
Maybe peace will
Come in my lifetime.
The back will state: "This monument stands as a beacon to remember the women and men who have served."
The monument will cost about $12,000 and is being paid for by the Red Wing VFW. Johnson recalls that he went to the VFW to ask for funding and the organization pledged to cover the whole amount.
"I was sort of in a state of shock," explained Johnson with a chuckle.
The monument is being built in Lewiston but the process is awaiting the arrival of the stone, which is being shipped from India, according to Johnson.
"So I suspect patience shall be virtue," Johnson told the County Board.
Johnson's goal is to have the monument installed by Monday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day. A dedication ceremony is planned for that Monday with a brunch at the Red Wing American Legion clubrooms
"I don't have much more to add," Johnson told commissioners, "other than the fact that I was looking for the county to say a blessing or whatever you feel about it because really, it is your monument, even though it's on Red Wing property."
The board applauded Johnson's work and supports the memorial and its instillation.