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Charles Burdick

Charles Burdick

An outstanding patriotic endeavor by several people, which has been in progress for about four years, will soon become a visible reality from the efforts of their labor.

On Feb. 27, 2014, a group of people met at Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake and formed a committee called the Shawnee Veterans Memorial Wall Committee. The purpose of this committee was to construct, perpetually maintain and annually update a monument in recognition and remembrance of all veterans, male and female, living and dead, within the boundaries of Shawnee Community Unit School District 84. This School District is about 40 miles long — the north end starts at Grand Tower and the south end at East Cape Girardeau.

The monument is to be located on the grounds of Shawnee High School, and the motivation being strictly for the purpose of recognition of those that have served our country in the military.

A board of officers was nominated and voted on at this meeting. Elected was a chairman, co-chairman, secretary, treasurer and board members. With this completed, the Shawnee Veterans Memorial Wall was born. At this meeting, Jamie Nash Mayberry, a very active teacher at Shawnee High School, recapped what Cobden had done with its memorial, thus giving the committee ideas as to how they might proceed.

This organization is a not-for-profit organization. At the next meeting, bylaws were adopted as presented by the chairman.

Funding of this has come from a small grant, raffles, donations and other fundraisers. None of this has brought a deluge of money, but the committee has been determined to see this memorial wall built.

The committee meets once a month on the last Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Shawnee High School. Many teachers and students not on the committee have participated in this effort and are to be commended. Thanks to all.

As a veteran, I am very excited about this project. It is a different approach having the veterans recognized while still living. To see our names on the wall, in recognition of service to our country is a great feeling. Another feature of this memorial is that it will recognize all veterans throughout the ages.

At present time, the footings for the wall has been poured. It is just the beginning of a never-ending thing that will progress through time as those who have not yet served, but will in the future, have their name on this wall.

This being a perpetual and never-ending project, finances will always be a concern with the continuation of this outstanding memorial. Donations will always be appreciated.

Too often, we fail in our busy lives to recognize and thank people who have freely given their time and effort in such projects as the Shawnee Veterans Memorial wall. Everyone has had fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, or some other relative who has served or will serve in the military. One doesn't have to be a veteran to appreciate what this committee has and will continue to accomplish.

In closing, to all the committee and others who have contributed to this project, we are sincerely thankful.

“Let us never forget the suffering, that war has brought to man, and never stop remembering, those that died for the freedom of our land.”

May God continue to bless America.

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Charles F. Burdick is a lifelong resident of Grand Tower. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and then went on to a 42-year Maritime career including 35 years as Master Pilot. He has been retired for 23 years and enjoys local history and writing poetry.

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