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Honoring Veterans

Courthouse memorial in place, new flag set for Camp Adair

POLK COUNTY -- The flag fies tattered and worn.

Members of the American Legion post in Dallas want to change that. They plan to post a new flag at the camp -- created to train troops in World War II -- in early July.

Post Commander Nick Nichols said an exact date has yet to be set. He wants to see the new flag go up Thursday, July 1.

The camp's flag flies near the monuments to the 91st, 94th, 70th and 104th divisions -- all of whom trained in Polk County before heading off to war.

When Nichols saw the flag, he immediately made plans to replace it. "The flag is in terrible shape," he said. "All we have to do is set the date and replace it."

This has been a busy year for the Legion post.

Legion members spearheaded the creation of a veterans memorial in front of the Polk County Courthouse. They held dedication ceremonies May 29 -- in conjunction with the dedication of the War War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

The memorial cost the Legion $2,660. Member raised the money through the donations of 60 area residents -- most of them veterans of the armed forces.

Some gave $5. Others gave $300.

The common denominator was a desire to see veterans remembered. A plaque in the center honors all veterans. Nichols though veterans deserved more.

"When I looked at that 26 feet of cement, I thought there should be more plaques," he said.

He worked with County Commissioner Ron Dodge to create the memorial. Individual plaques honor the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Merchant Marine and Coast Guard. Another plaque honors people who served on the home front.

The services of those who stayed behind should not be underrated, Nichols said. "We need to honor Rosie the Riveter and others, like my wife, who stayed home and took care of my daughter while I was gone."

The project kept legion members busy. On the day of the dedication, they also had to post almost 400 flags for the annual Avenue of Flags Memorial Day observance at Dallas Cemetery.

The end result is extremely gratifying, Nichols said -- especially to the men and women who served during World War II.

Veterans of that war fade year by year. Polk County lost 11 World War II veterans in 2003. It has lost three this year. "These people need to be honored," Nichols said.

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