Sheridan Memorial Park hosted a grand opening celebration June 28 to showcase its new veterans memorial, nearly 20 years after a group of 13 veterans began looking for places to build a memorial in Northeast Minneapolis.
The group, led by the late Ed Karbo, started their effort in 1995, but it didn’t gain serious momentum until 2005, when they teamed with the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization. Together they created a plan to place the memorial in Water Street Park on the east bank of the Mississippi, just north of the Broadway Avenue Bridge.
Now the park has been renamed Sheridan Memorial Park and the memorial stands at its south end.
Park Board President Liz Wielinski thanked Karbo in her remarks at the ceremony, along with Howard Weller, the last remaining survivor of the original group who pushed the project to completion. The Puzak family also generously donated land for the park.
“The Veterans Memorial is in honor of all veterans. It is a thank you to those who stepped forward to serve, a tribute to those whose lives were lost or forever altered, and a living reminder of our hope for a world with lasting peace,” said State Rep. Diane Loeffler, who advocated for the state funding needed to finish the project.
The memorial features a 30-foot diameter steel sculpture that’s lit from within. A circular plaza surrounds it with 10 sitting alcoves marking each of the conflicts Minnesotans have served in. Near a cantilevered plaza overhanging the river bank an 11th, empty marker stands, representing the ever-present threat of war. The sculpture and markers were created by local artist Robert Smart.
A dedication ceremony was held last Veteran’s Day.