20th Century Veterans Memorial is hoping to set up a phone book, board member Wilma Salisbury is confident it will happen. She says that since the start of 1998, fundraising for the memorial, residents of Lincoln County and North Platte have been very supportive.
Salisbury says residents of the area treat veterans very well. It was 2003 when the concrete and the first building stood on the current site, and the first bricks were installed at the southern end of the memorial.
“We worked to finish it. There are 6,500 bricks,” she said. And she explained that they had to be removed and replaced recently due to water damage. “There is room for 8,000 bricks. We will be placing 50 more before Memorial Day this year.”
And with so many bricks, you have to have a directory – or spend a lot of time looking for a name. There is a directory now. It is located near the facade of the memorial. People have to search for names through the slightly hazy glass (due to the elements) to find names, sorted alphabetically, by which the brick can then be located.
The new phone system will allow visitors to make a phone call to an “answering machine type system”, which will respond by directing the caller to the location of the brick.
The system will cost $ 8,000. Salisbury said two people went through the arduous task of typing in all the names, information and locations of the bricks. They want the information to be ready so that as soon as enough money is collected; they can implement the system.
Salisbury explained that the money was received during “Giving Day” at North Platte in early May. She said it’s great that they have special days to call attention to donations, and that the board greatly appreciates donations.
But they are far from the $ 8,000 needed.
Anyone can donate, and anyone can buy a brick for an honorably released veteran. It’s not just a Nebraska memorial. Salisbury explained that a visiting couple from Illinois bought four bricks for their family’s veterans.
Bricks cost $ 150. Forms can be picked up from the memorial, picked up online at 20thcvetsmemorial.com, or by mail to PO Box 1393, North Platte, NE 69101. There is no office, but there is a secretary for the board. administration that answers the phones and does paperwork. Salisbury was secretary for 18 years.
She said that when they place bricks, they try to bring family members together. A family has 15 and one has 11.
Donations can be placed through the Mid Nebraska Community Foundation in North Platte or donors can call 308-532-6579. The board does not advertise other than its signs at the north, south, east and west entrances to North Platte. Salisbury says many hear from word of mouth.
The memorial is on Google, Facebook and linked to the Lincoln County Visitors Bureau.