HANNIBAL, Mo. -- World War II veteran Danny Griffen had no trouble seeing his name on the Central Park war memorial in Hannibal. He's thought to be the only living veteran listed on the memorial, and when the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department unveiled the renovated plaques Tuesday, he proudly pointed to his name.
"They look nice," Griffen said.
The eight cast aluminum plaques containing the names of more than 5,000 Northeast Missouri World War I and World War II veterans had become difficult to read over the years, and last November the Parks Department began fundraising $12,000 to get them renovated and cleaned.
"This is a project we wanted to do for a long time. Words can't describe what these ladies and gentlemen did for us in World War I and World War II," Parks Director Andy Dorian said. "We tried to clean the plaques ourselves and have others do it, but it was finally time to do it right."
While Hannibal Monument cleaned them, Tri-State Industrial Sandblasting volunteered to sandblast the 1962-era structure, and it was repainted a crisp white. A plaque listing donors was ordered, and once it arrived, a date for Tuesday's plaque unveiling was set.
Many who have family members listed on the memorial were in attendance.
"The people of Hannibal are what makes this city great," Mayor James Hark said. "The people of Hannibal are the ones who insisted on this project, and they are the ones looking toward the future for more."
Also Tuesday, Dorian announced that the Parks Department is fundraising for an estimated $60,000 additional veterans memorial to be placed at the Cardiff Hill overlook. This new memorial will be about 17 feet tall and honor all veterans who have served. The bell in Kiwanis Park will be placed in the middle of the new memorial. Bricks are being sold for $125 each in order to honor veterans and raise funds for the project.