Now some of the fallen Marines from Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011) are getting a place of honor on the grounds of the township's city hall. A memorial is being erected that will honor “The Fallen 22” of First Battalion, 24th Marines, headquartered at nearby Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Twp. They made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq during a 2006-2007 deployment to Al Anbar Province.
The committee steering the design and fundraising for the memorial site has raised more than half of the monies required but are in need of an additional $330,000 in donations to complete the memorial. The committee is asking the general public for contributions.
“Your contribution will be set in stone and will last for generations. You can help set the table for these heroes and their families by making a donation, holding a fundraising event and spreading the word through social media,” said Committee Member Tom Ward, apprenticeship coordinator for Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 2.
Ward and other BAC Local 2 members have already volunteered their time to build the back-up wall for the memorial, with the block and other materials being donated. Now the campaign that is moving forward isn't so much to get volunteers to do the work, but to raise funds for the construction of the stone and granite work.
At the center of the memorial is a granite table and benches designed to reflect the tradition of arranging an empty place setting for a missing or fallen comrade. The table will feature 22 bronze plates engraved with the names of each fallen Marine.
"When people lose friends and family, there are emotions of loss and guilt," said Angelo Lema, who chairs the monument's fundraising committee. "This monument is our way of helping people get through that, and make sure that these Marines are remembered."
A GoFundMe page has been created at the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines Memorial website www.1-24memorial.com, or checks can be made payable to the Department of Michigan Marine Corps League with “1st Battalion, 24th Marines Memorial” in the memo line and mailed to PO Box 450117, Selfridge ANG Base, MI 48045. The Memorial Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax deductible.
The First Battalion, 24th Marines (1/24) is a U.S. Marine Corps reserve infantry battalion, headquartered in Michigan at Selfridge ANG Base, with subordinate units located in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Perrysburg, Ohio, and Terre Haute, Indiana. The battalion is attached to the 25th Marine Regiment of the 4th Marine Division. Nicknamed, Terror from the North, the battalion’s mission is to provide infantry support to augment and reinforce the active duty component in time of war. From September of 2006 to April of 2007, the battalion executed combat operations in the Al Anbar province, suffering the loss of the 22 Marines who were killed in action.
Macomb County-headquartered Roncelli Inc., has been enlisted to manage the completion of the memorial and is working closely with memorial board committee members, including DeSalvio Construction, who initially began the memorial construction. Operating Engineers Local 324 has also assisted.
To learn more about how you can help, please contact board Chairman Angelo Lema, Jr. at (586) 718-2342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A RENDERING of the Marine memorial, courtesy of Tiseo & Associates, Inc.