The Alger County American Legion and Vietnam Veterans Honor Guard dedicated a unique memorial Saturday to honor all military veterans. The memorial, which features a bell that when rung plays an old naval hymn, was carefully crafted and donated by Garold Whitehead, a man with a simple plan and a big heart.He constructed the memorial in a place that you might not expect--in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest, near Corner Lake. It's turned out to be the ideal place to peacefully reflect on the sacrifices made by countless miltary men and women, both past and present. He said the now infamous words of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy were part of the inspiration to build the memorial.
Whitehead stated "Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for the country. And that's all I can do is just give something back to the people that fought for our lives. A lot of people died for us. A lot of people are suffering from things that they've seen and did. And we can just be fortunate that we have people and men that went out and did that."
Garold and his wife, Jan Whitehead, owners of the Forest Glen Store and White Fawn Lodge Resort, were on hand to accept the American Legion Americanism award which was presented by Don Bulusar, American Legion Post 131 Commander. The medal features the Statue of Liberty crested by two bald eagles.
A few short commemorative speeches were also delivered during the ceremony by past commanders, Joe Paquette and Herb Brown. A bugler played the Star Spanngled Banner for a crowd of onlookers. A gun salute was also performed by the Honor Guard.
The memorial is located just off of US Forest Highway 13, twelve miles south of Wetmore, MI. Turn left onto Corner Lake Road, then take the next left onto West Straights, Lake Road and you'll find the memorial.