Rain or shine…
Two new monuments honoring Minnesota veterans listed as prisoners of war/missing in action (POW, MIA) will be unveiled today, Sept. 23, 2023, at Blaine Veterans Memorial Park (10802 Town Square Drive Blaine, MN 55449).
The new POW/MIA monument features a 450-pound bronze statue of a prisoner of war in front of a 20-foot wall that is etched with more than 1,400 names of every Minnesotan listed as POW or MIA since World War II. The same black granite as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is utilized.
More about the monument at KSPT website at https://kstp.com/kstp-news/top-news/new-monument-honoring-minnesota-veterans-listed-as-pow-mia-to-be-unveiled-saturday/?fbclid=IwAR3lTugfqKuSZ24zSz34GTFqRB7VE7LSlOVqYkOEp7Tysv9p_H_8turGMkk
In the KSTP-TV interview regarding the new monument with the Park’s President, Steve Guider, the Blaine Senior High School educator shared, “It’s probably been about two years in the making. The statue is incredible. It’s actually a POW that’s kneeling down on the ground shackled. We wanted to show the fight and resilience of the American soldier.” Nearby (in the Park), an almost six-foot-tall ‘Freedom Rock’ will also be unveiled. Guider points out on the Park’s Facebook site, “We don’t have a lot of great ways to advertise, and Facebook seems to be the best way to spread the word. Both Monuments are absolutely incredible.”
Guider believes the new additions to Veterans Memorial Park of Blaine will be powerful tributes to those who have served and sacrificed. “As far as the impact, it’s been unbelievable,” Guider said. “I have seen so many tears at this park from veterans that are so appreciative, just feeling like they’re being remembered for what they have done.”
Sgt. Duane Broten, a 90-year-old veteran of the Korean War, will be one of two veterans unveiling the new monuments Saturday. “It’s a lot more to it than people realize,” Broten said. “A veteran goes through a lot of stuff, especially in combat.” Back in 1953, Broten was held captive for almost a week on Pork Chop Hill, along the Korean peninsula. “The North Koreans came charging up the hill to put terror in us,” Broten said through tears. “And it did.” Broten said he was wounded in the battle almost immediately and lost so much blood he could no longer stand. “They took me prisoner that night and I laid in that trench for the next six days. You got somebody holding a rifle a foot away from your head,” Broten recalled, “It’s good to let people know what it’s like to have to go through that.” Broten said he made a daring escape one morning when he realized the enemy soldiers had briefly left. He ended up spending more than six months in the hospital, with shrapnel wounds all over his body. Broten still lives with the lingering impacts of those injuries, including loss of sight in his right eye. He hopes people will listen to stories like his and reflect on the sacrifice of so many service members while visiting the new monuments in Blaine.
“It’s really something,” Broten said. “I think everybody that knows about it ought to spend the time here, go through it, and recognize how lucky they are.”
The unveiling ceremony for the new monument will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday. It is open to the public. Bring your lawn chairs and umbrellas as the unveilings will take place in two separate Park locations. More a Blaine Veterans Memorial Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064805256595 and Website at https://www.veteransparkofblaine.org/