Mt. Vernon Register-News

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September 19, 2013

Expansion continues at Bluford memorial

(Continued)

"We're going to add two vertical (gray granite) stones, and we'll start placing names on those. We haven't decided how many names yet. Currently, there are 551 crosses, and we kicked it around to maybe put 200 names on the stones, putting the oldest names up first. That would leave 350 crosses, and as that number, we could transfer some of those over to the back side of the stones," he said. "It's going to be a memorial that grows with the community."

The expansion project, which will also include flag poles for the Illinois state and POW flags, is expected to cost an additional $20,000, according to estimates. Much of the labor for the original memorial, and the expansion, has been donated.

"It shows respect for the men and women that have went and fought for our country, and died for our country," said Committee member Bobby Ellis.

"I think it's the center point for the village for the community to come and honor veterans," added Butch Baker, a member of the Committee and a village board member. "I also think it's one of the better ones in this part of the state."

Committee members indicated that fundraising efforts have not been difficult.

"It's not been difficult at all," said Ruby Goldman, who added the Ruritans have a breakfast every year with the proceeds designated for the memorial.

"If we have the money, we'll put more into it," said Baker. "It looks nice if you keep putting money into it, and the organizations have been supportive. It just keeps growing every year."

"This memorial just says something about Bluford that makes it special," Bullard said. "A small town of 700 that its people would have enough conscious in their heart to want to honor the veterans says a lot that you just don't find in every town in America."

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