Kitchell Park war memorial restored

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PANA, Ill. (WAND) - Kitchell Park in Pana is a source of pride for the close knit community. So when a historic part of the park needed care, the community was there to help.

The Veteran's Memorial is coming up on it's 100th birthday and it needed a little tender loving care.

"At one time - I don't know how far back - there was 6 pedestals in the triangle," Bob Smith, President of the Pana Parks Revitalization Committee, says. "As far as I know they didn't represent anything other than just being a pedestal. Well, over time, they deteriorated so bad that they were beyond repair."

The revitalization committee was brainstorming new ideas when they happened upon the perfect replacement at a store in town.

"These medallions all represent the five branches of the military," Smith says.

The American Legion, the VFW, AMVET's, and sorority Zeta Theta Tau chipped in to help.

Community members say it's important to care for the memorial because of the sacrifice it commemorates. 

"The monuments reflect those that have given their lives in the service of their country," AJ Wiss, a veteran and Pana City Council Member, says. "On the Vietnam Memorial a classmate of mine is listed there. He died as a helicopter pilot. A lot of people gave all."

Wiss donated one of the pedestals himself.

"You know, it's a serious thing, it's an honor, to all of us," Wiss says.

The memorial was built in 1918 and dedicated in 1919.

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