FARMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - A memorial to fallen veterans got a hero's welcome in Farmington, Minn., with hundreds bearing the record Memorial Day heat to see the final section go into place Monday afternoon.
Plans for the installation began in 2005 and it grew, piece by piece, reaching its final form this week with the addition of a life-size saluting bronze soldier across from a wall etched with the names of 16 men who never made it home. Local organizations donated $40,000 to add the sculpture to the memorial.
"I think that those who were killed we don’t want their memory to be erased with time," said Leon Orr, the chairman of the Farmington Area Veterans Memorial Committee.
Though the memorial is meant to honor all the veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country, it was an extra special occasion for one local family. Marine Lance Corporal Dale Means was just 23 when he died in Afghanistan after an IED blast in 2012. His mother, DaleLyn Means, described him as a fun-loving gearhead who married his high school sweetheart and lived life to the absolute fullest.
“Dale said to me, ‘Mom I just want to do something that makes a difference in this world,’” said DaleLyn Means. “And he did truly make a difference in this world by joining the Marines and giving the ultimate sacrifice.”
DaleLyn Means says she is proud to see her son's legacy will now live forever alongside 15 of his brothers.
"I’ll be bringing my grandchildren over here, his niece and nephew that he never got to meet," said Means. "It really means a lot to my family."