New Veterans Park wall installed to honor Skokie military men, women

Francisco Gonzalez of Ruffolo Inc. Design Construction Maintenance works Nov. 22, 2016, on installing a wall in the Skokie Park District's Veterans Park. The wall is now complete and will include the names of those from Skokie who have served in the military. (Mike Isaacs / Pioneer Press)

Veterans Park, near the heart of downtown Skokie, is adding one more way to honor past and current service men and women enlisted in the military.

Workers recently completed installation of a new wall in the park that will eventually include bricks engraved with veterans’ names, said Skokie Park District Executive Director John Ohrlund.

Ohrlund said the idea for the wall was raised by park leaders about a year ago during the park district’s budgeting cycle. Veterans Park was created as a venue to honor U.S. military men and women and includes several monuments and benches surrounded by landscaping. One of the town’s smaller parks, it has always been a setting for quiet and contemplation rather than sports and loud activity, park leaders have said.

“Some of the commissioners thought this was a really good idea,” Ohrlund said about constructing a tribute wall. “A memorial wall is probably the wrong word for it because it’s intended for both living service people and those who have already passed away too.”

“That seems to be the best time,” he said. “We want to celebrate those who have served their country in the military — both those living and those who have died. The concept is that friends and family of servicemen and women will pay for engraved paver bricks that will be added to the wall.”

According to park district officials, the wall measures about 150 square feet. The park district spent about $6,000 on it, Ohrlund said, which does not include some landscaping that will surround the wall.

The park district expects to publicize the wall and the sale of the bricks at least a month or two before Memorial Day, Ohrlund said. Since the park opened nearly a dozen years ago, it has been home to the village’s annual Memorial Day commemorations.

“A park with this name, and with already having a memorial to other service organizations in the park, we just thought this was a very appropriate way to further honor our military families in Skokie,” Ohrlund said.

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