Plans moving forward for veterans memorial

Plans to build a Wichita memorial to honor Kansas soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan are moving forward. The board overseeing the project has settled on a final design. In coming weeks, the group will turn its attention to raising at least $200,000 — the minimum amount needed to build the memorial in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Wichita.

Anita Dixon, who came up with the concept of the "Operation Freedom Memorial," said she hopes those who see the design will be moved to contribute to the project.

"I would really like to not get to the point where we have to have bake sales or garage sales," she said. "I would like it to be donations from people who want to see this happen and honor these young boys. That's my hope, my goal and my dream."

Dixon, whose son Sgt. Evan Parker died in Iraq in 2005, said the memorial would honor Kansans who served in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The design calls for the memorial to be built on a concrete circle with 8-foot black granite walls. The names of more than 60 Kansans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan will be etched into the monument.

The group has posted the design on its website, www.ofm-ks.com

Dixon said the group has received permission to build the memorial in Veterans Memorial Park, 339 N. Greenway. It will be placed between the Vietnam War Memorial and the USS Wichita Memorial.

Dixon said the board of directors overseeing the project will meet next week to discuss plans for moving forward with the project.

"I would like to say that within a two-year time span it would be totally complete," she said.

Anyone who wants to contribute can send donations to:

Operation Freedom Memorial Foundation Inc.

P.O. Box 782414

Wichita, KS 67278