Macedonia park has lasting tribute to American veterans

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Workers pour concrete for a new pathway at the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park on April 20. The memorial and park are in Macedonia, near Macedonia Commons.

MACEDONIA -- Piece by piece, slab by slab, a tribute and history of this nation's wars is being built in the Veterans Memorial Park, a small park near the Macedonia Commons.

When it is all done, every war the United States has ever fought on will have a stone memorial at the park, said Kathryn Krasnicki, the historian for the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park Foundation.

"We are taking it all the way back to the American War of Independence," Krasnicki said. "Right now, we have the War on Terror through World War I."

The World War I memorial was installed in 2018, to commemorate the anniversary of the end of what was then called The Great War, Krasnicki said. 

"Last year, we had sufficient funds for three monuments," she said. "We had the Korean War, plus two monuments for World War II. That was such an extensive and horrendous war, it took two to tell the story from the veteran's standpoint."

One of the World War II memorials, donated by the residents of Sagamore Hills, focuses on the European, African and Middle Eastern Theater, according to information provided by the foundation. The other memorial highlights the Asiatic and Pacific Theater, and was donated by James and Kathryn Krasnicki.

In addition, last year two picnic tables were donated to the park. Cement Masons Local #404 and Barry DiJulius, an instructor for the Local, completed the Pathway of Freedom and the platforms for the conflict monuments. HGE Concrete Supply in Walton Hills donated the concrete.

One standout feature of this memorial is the emphasis on education and telling the history of these wars through a veteran's perspective, Krasnicki said. 

"On the one side, facing the street side, there is text to tell you what the veterans who participated in the war or conflict went through. Then on the side of the park, you can see photos and various scenes from the war, locations that the veterans would be familiar with. When we put in the Vietnam War, a lot of veterans would come by and say 'I was there, I remember this.' We tried to depict what happened in their lives and what they did. I didn't want it to be just statistics and politician's names and stuff like that. I wanted something from the point of view of the veterans."

In addition, the newer memorial is dedicated to "all veterans who served our country," Krasnicki said. The memorial at the Northfield-Macedonia Cemetery, installed in the 1990s, honors the veterans who lived in the Nordonia Hills area.

This year, monuments to veterans of the Civil War, the Mexican American War and the Spanish War will be installed, Krasnicki said. 

"The Civil War will be told from the perspective of the North," Krasnicki said. 

The Foundation hopes "in the near future" to put up memorials to those who fought in the Revolutionary War, which would feature the Bill of Rights on one side and the Constitution on the other, and a memorial to the War of 1812, Krasnicki said.

Other plans for the park include a pond and a memorial for those killed in action, Krasnicki said. Some of the fencing was taken down from the Northfield-Macedonia Cemetery to place around this memorial, which includes Killed-in-Action bricks of those known residents who died in combat.

"There are 17, 18 names I believe," Krasnicki said. "We have asked people to come forward if they know someone. So far, no luck. The Nordonia History Museum had brief biographies of those on that stone [the memorial at the Northfield-Macedonia cemetery] but many passed away after the war, they were no killed in action."

One thing that has helped the foundation are donations of labor and supplies to the effort, Krasnicki said. The concrete has been poured by students from an area concrete school as part of a project for them.

"We were able to do quite a bit," she said. "The owner told us 'name the cement you want, you've got it." Another company offered to spray seed.

The memorials themselves most likely won't arrive until late June; they will probably go up in late summer. "There's a 40-day travel time by boat for the granite slabs," she said.

Visitors to the park also will have restrooms to use in the future; Krasnicki said the foundation planned to construct restrooms at the park this summer.

History

In 2015, Carl Quesenberry of the American Legion Nordonia Hills Post 801, according to information provided by the foundation. The next year, the Legion's Advisory Planning Committee was expanded with the inclusion of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6768. 

In 2018, the advisory committee decided that an entity separate from the Legion and VFW would be needed to coordinate the planning and creation of the park. As a result, the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park Foundation was formed on Nov. 5, 2018. It received a 501(c)(3) status nearly eight months later.

For details on the memorials, the park or the foundation, visit http://nordoniahillsveteransmemorialpark.com online. 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com

The Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park includes a fenced-off memorial honoring local military service members that were killed in action.
The committee for the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park plans to add six more memorials honoring those who have served in every major war the United States has been involved in.
The committee for the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park is planning on adding six more monuments to honor military service members of past wars.
A worker smooths out a pad of concrete at the Nordonia Hills Veterans Memorial Park.