A new veterans park is being dedicated in North St. Paul.
More than four years in the making, it is the product of the cooperation of Minnesota legislators, the City of North St. Paul and North St. Paul Veterans Park Inc., a nonprofit run by local veterans and volunteers brought together to honor their fellow veterans.
The park will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Aug. 15 on Margaret Street at Hwy. 36. The location is better known as the area across from North St. Paul High School and the North St. Paul snowman.
The land actually goes back to Henry Castle, a Civil War veteran, who dedicated it in 1887. A World War I-era cannon was placed on the site in the 1920s and it was known as Cannon Park for years.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation got involved for highway improvements and a portion of the land was eventually donated back to the city.
In mid-2011, North St. Paul City Council Member Terry Furlong contacted local veteran advocates to gauge the interest in a veterans memorial.
The group called themselves the North St. Paul Veterans Park Initiative (now known as North St. Paul Veterans Park Inc.). American Legion Post 39, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1350 and the North High School Air Force Junior ROTC also got involved. Fundraising efforts included the sale of engraved memorial pavers.
Features of the park include a central star, surrounded by a sea of blue as a reflection of the freedom of the sky, red stripes that indicate the sacrifice by veterans, white stripes that provide a walkway, and a stone replica of the state of Minnesota engraved with the image of a U.S. serviceman in 2012 battle dress.
A remembrance wall provides the emblems of the six military services and includes the names of North St. Paul veterans who gave their lives or are listed as missing in action or as prisoners of war.
Circling the entire monument is a history path to inform passersby of the history of conflicts that North St. Paul veterans have participated in.