Story by Tim Sproles
The American Legion Family at Yorktown Post 321 proudly celebrated the opening of the post’s new American Legion Memorial Park with a dedication ceremony Saturday, Oct. 19.
The park is hidden from view along Indiana Highway 32, but once you venture behind the post on the shore of Buck Creek, this 2.8-acre park is hard to miss. Front and center and the park’s entrance, a patriotic display featuring a 25-foot-long metal monument of the Marines at the Battle of Iwo Jima proudly raising our country’s colors.
“It’s a beautiful spot and a perfect place for families to come together, fish or just enjoy this area,” said Post Commander, Mark Logan. “We are extremely proud of what this park has become, but it didn’t always look like this.”
The story of how the American Legion Memorial Park came to be, begins back in September 2018, with an act of kindness from a local businessman.
Sam Pierce of Sam Pierce Chevrolet in Daleville had purchased the property and wanted to do something with it. After reaching out to Post 321 for ideas, the post executive committee presented a plan for a Veterans memorial park. The project would tie in with a citywide effort to establish a public walkway.
Logan said, “I guess he liked what he heard, because everything happened quickly after that.”
Mr. Pierce entered into an agreement with the Post to lease the 2.8 acres of undeveloped land for 10 years at only $1 a year. After that, it was time to get to work.
“Every day we were out there cleaning that park up and it wasn’t the easiest task,” said Cmdr. Logan. “The entire area was overgrown and hadn’t been cleared out for a long time. When we first started, you couldn’t even walk through it. It was a lot of hard work, but when you have the right tools and your Legion Family by your side, you can accomplish a lot.”
Members donated time and equipment to move out debris and flatten out the area and as it was cleared, people started to notice.
“They’ve received a great reaction from the local community,” said 10th District Commander, Ron Patterson. “The command staff here have really worked hard to ensure that Post 321 has a positive impact here in Yorktown. When good things are happening at your post, then more people want to be involved.”
Commander Logan said that how the post acquired the Iwo Jima monument is a perfect example of community support.
He said, “We have a smaller, wooden display of the Iwo Jima Marines directly outside of the post that we had considered replacing. I reached out to Versatile Metal Works in Muncie about fabricating a metal replacement for us, but they wanted to do something a little bigger than that.”
The staff at Versatile donated the 10 feet high, 25-foot-long metal display and Manor Brothers Concrete out of Eaton followed up by installing the concrete stand and supports for the display, all free of charge.
The Department of Indiana Commander, Allen Connelly, who was the guest speaker at the dedication ceremony, said that hosting community-based events and special projects like the American Legion Memorial Park are what the Legion is all about.
He said, “Establishing the connection with the local community and building on these relationships is vital to the success of both our individual posts, and the continued success of this organization. Every American Legion post should strive to be a pillar for the local community, and that’s exactly what the Legion Family here at Post 321 have done.”
State Representative Melanie Wright, who attended the park dedication ceremony, praised the post for leading by example.
She said, “Our Yorktown American Legion is so amazing because they constantly striving to recognize our fine veterans and give back to the community. The Memorial Park is such a beautiful tribute to our veterans, for if it were not for their tireless service, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms of our great country.”
The American Legion Memorial Park will be open daily from sunrise to sunset and the post will continue to make improvements to the area.
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