MAPLETON, Minn. (KEYC) — People in Mapleton honored veterans and the new Victory Drive Memorial.
Inside the Mapleton High School, guest speakers included U.S. Representative Jim Hagedorn, State Representative Jeremy Munson and more.
In 1948 over 1,000 trees were planted along Victory Drive in honor of WWI and WWII veterans.
However, with the major highway rebuild, about 600 of those trees were removed.
“Trees were planted in the 1940s, they were in the clear zone, so we did not want to have any more hazardous trees that could impact citizens that are driving through the corridor. So we needed to remove those trees, and we wanted to do something that would beautify the corridor for future generations," said WSB Project Manager Peter Muehlbach.
However, trees were replaced as well as adding additional landscaping.
“We did a unique landscaping project that dedicated trees, bushes and pollinators to all of our veterans," MnDOT Project Manager Robert Jones said.
Two memorials were also installed at the ends of the 15-mile stretch, with one being located in Mapleton and the other in Mankato.
The memorials will feature five stone pillars that represent the five branches of the military; with the five branches of the military being Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
The dedication concluded with people braving the cold around those pillars and an Honor Guard 21 Gun Salute.
“We are proud to be a part of this. This was an amazing opportunity to leave a lasting legacy to honor the veterans for future generations. Along with ones that served in previous wars," added Muehlbach.
And, as a veteran himself, Robert Jones says the memorial has met his expectations.
“I am very proud of this project as a veteran and it’s a very good memorial for all of our veterans out there. And happy Veterans Day," said Jones.