Monday, June 24, 2013

Lorain's World War II Monument Forgotten Again

The scene on Sunday; kudos to whoever mowed the grass and trimmed the shrubs
It was disappointing to read the article in Saturday's Morning Journal entitled, "Marine memorial to be relocated because of theft attempts." It was bad enough to read that one of the two monuments on Henderson Drive was almost vandalized and that both may be relocated, but it was made even worse by the fact that the story contained inaccuracies.

The article referred to the two monuments collectively as "a memorial site in tribute to fallen Lorain Marines" and states that "the site honors Lofton R. Henderson, a U.S. Marine Corps naval aviator from Lorain who died during battle in WWII." It also refers to the older of the two monuments as "the marker that honors Lofton."

In actuality, the older monument erected by Lorain's City Club honors all those from the city of Lorain who died in World War II. The monument – originally dedicated on Memorial Day, 1947 – reads, "THIS AVENUE OF TREES IS DEDICATED AS A TRIBUTE TO THOSE FROM THE CITY OF LORAIN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WORLD WAR II."

(I wrote all about the monument's history here.)

It was originally on the other side of Henderson Drive. But cars kept hitting it, so it was moved to the west side of the road. During the 1950s the monument was neglected, causing an outcry in the community. The city finally cleaned up the memorial site.

Now, in 2013, the World War II monument – dedicated more than 65 years ago and of such emotional impact that a Lorain mother who lost two sons in the war flung herself to the ground in front of it at its dedication – isn't even maintained by the city any more.

The monuments don't need to be relocated. They need to be enhanced.

There needs to be a sign or marker or plaque explaining it all; why the bridge and the drive are named for Major Lofton Henderson; what he did to deserve a tribute; how many Lorainites lost their lives in World War II.

The monuments need to be lit and secure. There needs to be parking so if someone wants to see the monuments, they can safely get in and out of the area. It really needs to be a small park – preferably with some sycamores (the "avenue of trees" referred to on the monument) planted nearby. It could and should be a tourist attraction, another stop on a possible Lorain World War II Trail. After all, what other city – in addition to sending its young men and women off to war – also contributed not only the Admiral of the whole fleet, but numerous war heroes and battleships? The World War II era was Lorain's finest hour.

But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for anything to happen.

So the markers will probably end up somewhere else, thus weakening the whole historical backdrop for naming the bridge and drive after Major Henderson in the first place.

By the way, did anyone besides me notice that Henderson Drive is misnamed on its nearby sign?

1 comment:

Tony said...

Moving it to the new Settlers Watch/Admiral King historical marker area may make the most sense. It would be nice if they developed it into a park but I have a feeling the city feels overwhelmed as it is with the parks it has now.