On Sept 6, 2018 the Board of County Commissioners surprised a local veteran this morning with some well-deserved recognition and praise for his work to honor others.
“Keith LaMee, with American Legion Post 5, worked tirelessly to have a monument built to honor the region's three Medal of Honor recipients. The monument, that sits in Memorial Park, was unveiled earlier this summer.”
The Medal of Honor monument was one of those back burners type of ideas that set in the back of a person’s mind. While visiting cousins of Floyd Lindstrom a Medal of Honor recipient who grow up in Colorado Springs knew the next step had to be taken. So, along the road from Holdridge, NB back to Colorado Springs talking to Dawn LaMee, my wife, was the first time the Medal of Honor monument was said out loud. The way I was raised if you say you do it so now I was on the hook. I decided to have it done in 9 months because I did not know what I was doing but I never let that stop me before.
The morning after returning home I went to the Colorado Springs Parks Department to see what I needed to do get this wild idea off the ground. It just so happened that the person I needed to talk to was there. Daniel had a book showing where all the current monuments that circled the Veterans Memorial that over looks the Prospect Lake in Memorial Park. The Veterans Memorial was dedicated Nov 11, 1968 thus it is 50 years old. American Legion Post 5 was the ramrod to get this Veterans Memorial done. Post 5 paid for a large flag pole due North of the large monument to all the veterans of Colorado Springs. So when David pulled the book out to pick a spot for the Medal of Honor monument to see if there any other monument was going in the spot and of anything trees had to be moved. There was the only spot it should go was open. The only spot? Yes, the one that so many pasted on because the base of the American Legion flay pole was a large circle causing the are not to be a square. With one of the legs of the large Veterans Memorial pointing “True North” at the flag pole and at the first small memorial, for the 89th Div for their World War 2 which also dedicated on 11/11/1968.
I next went to the Shrine Of Remembrance to talk stone. After giving them a ruff drawing of the memorial would look like. I went to another memorial builders in Colorado Springs to get quote on making the monument. Having picked the day for the dedicating the new monument for May 27, 2018 I knew it would be an uphill fight.
I knew that money would be the big issues about meeting my time line. I know most monuments take a few years to go from drawing board to dedication because the money issues. Being the head of the group to build the monument, which was in name only because I know most people do not want to talk one lone person but chairman of a committee they are likely listen. Having a large group of veteran’s groups in the Colorado Springs area I sent letters to all American Legions, VFW’s, Purple Heart, DAV and any other groups that supported the military and veterans. The American Legion Post 5 family stood up in a big way. Th TAL, Aux, SAL and the Riders gave money and held fund raiser. Two VFW’s post donated money. The Vets4Vets of Colorado Springs group of veteran’s motorcycle organizations that are fighting to end veterans homeless in the Colorado Springs also made two donations. I wish I could say that more veteran groups gave but I cannot. Getting several people that I know gave money but from the start I knew that I had to put my money where my mouth was. I did make a couple of large donations to make sure the time line was met. If it had not for the Shrine Of Remembrance giving in kind of donation and getting the stone done at their cost the monument would have taken years.
So, while the award has my name on it also belongs to American Legion Post 5 for allowing me to take the ball and run with it (like they could have stopped me). I really been working to honor one PFC Floyd Lindstrom who I have been fighting to honor for 9 years but I also knew Jesse Fink and Gerald Young who also had their Medals accredited to El Paso county were forgotten as well. So, if you are visiting Colorado Springs make sure to stop by the Veterans Memorial area and look at all the monuments and give a salute to the three that are remembered now. Not knowing anything about what your heart tells you to do should not stop you from reaching for the goal just learn as you go.