Since 2007 Legionnaire Dick Chatman, past department commander and adjutant of Coleman A. Young Post 202, has led the efforts to save and restore the Michigan War Veterans Memorial located in Detroit. On Sept. 9, 2017, the memorial will turn 78, if it doesn't fall down before then. The 35-foot-high stone tower was dedicated Sept. 9, 1939, as the principal event of that year’s Michigan State Fair. 5,000 persons were in attendance, most of them veterans of World War I and their families. The memorial was to be a tribute to Michigan war dead in every engagement since the Civil War, and it would be topped by an ever-burning light fed by natural gas at the top that was to burn 24X7 in honor of Michigan war veterans.
The tower contained plaques and tributes from Michigan veterans service organizations from across the state and Canada. Through the years that followed the organizations were encouraged to continue to place plaques and tributes until the memorial was completely covered. In 2009, the Michigan governor and state legislature ended funding for the Michigan State Fair because of budget cuts and abandoned the upkeep and maintenance of the memorial, and as a result it has been left to crumble and become easy prey to scavengers.
Chatman and the Legion continue to work to bring attention to the plight of the memorial and to get support and funding to restore and move the memorial to a suitable site in the city. A Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DetroitUSAFVeteran and a web page: http://www.cay202detroit.org/index.php?id=72&number=5 have been established to share with veterans and the public.