Artist rendering of Howard County Veterans Monument (photo courtesy of Howard County Veterans Foundation)
Howard County Veterans Foundation unveils first look at future Veterans Monument
The Howard County Veterans Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of the more than 20,000 veterans that live in Howard County unveiled artists renderings of a future veterans monument in ceremonies held June 7 at the Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park at the Columbia, Maryland lakefront.
The full name of the monument is the Howard County Veterans and Military Families Monument. “For a number of years now, there's always been a dream to have a veterans monument here in Howard County, a place where everyone can come and pay their respects and honor the sacrifices of our veterans as well as their families. Because as we all know when our military deploys, it's the moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents and children that pick up the mantle and carry forward,” says Foundation President, Robert Gillette.
According to Gillette the selection of the future location of the monument was no accident. “Millie Bailey was a WWII veteran, an African-American woman who was a member of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and later the Women's Army Corps as a lieutenant in the Adjutant Corps. So the park was built and named for her,” Gillette said.
“The concept of the monument actually came from the Commission on Veterans and Military Families. It was a concept, then of course we had to find a location and get funding, and get approval. We were fortunate enough to identify this beautiful Columbia lakefront as the site of the future monument location,” says Lisa Terry, Manager of the Howard County Office Veterans and Military Affairs.”
The concept for the monument was first floated in 2014 and since then a fund-raising effort has been underway. A combination of Maryland state grants, Howard County grants and private donations have raised close to $2 million of the $2.75 million needed to complete the project. “First and foremost, we have a construction project that we're trying to start. Those projects cost a lot of money, so we'd love to receive financial support from anyone that would like to see this monument become a reality,” said Gillette.
According to the Howard County Office of Veterans and Military families, more than 14,000 county residents commute to jobs on Fort Meade. If you'd like to find out more about the monument project, go to www.howardcountyveterans.org and to find out more about all the programs and assistance that the Howard County Office of Veterans and Military Affairs provides, go to www.howardcountymd.gov/veterans-military-families.