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Veterans Memorial

By Sue William

The Denton Community Historical Society is fortunate to have Jay and Kathy Tschetter as members. Jay is a well-known sculptor not only in Lincoln but also in Nebraska, and the United States. Some of Jay's work includes the well-known Iron Horse Legacy in Historical Haymarket Square in Lincoln; (17' X 40" color brick mural), the brick work behind the deer at The Legacy at 56th & Pioneers Blvd in Lincoln, The Cushman Mural, and the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Jay has his studio next to his home in Denton. His latest and largest project is America's Twentieth Century Veterans' War Memorial which will be in North Platte, Nebraska, at Iron Horse Park, where Interstate 80 intersects U.S. Highway 83. This area has heavy traffic and is easily accessible. 

The mission statement, as stated on the Memorial's web site, is to "Build a permanent memorial monument dedicated to and honoring the men and women who served honorably in time of war and peace during the Twentieth Century." This is a $1.8 million project. The Veteran's Association of North Platte asked Jay, president of Images in Brick, to develop an idea for a brick mural. Susan Horn designed the mural. She spent almost five years doing research. Jay Tschetter and Sally Kettler worked with Susan for three of the five years. "Horn spent hours on end working with war veterans and looking through books, researching all aspects of each war and studying the images and pictures. She noted such things as technology, uniforms, landscapes and the role of women."

The mural consists of eight tableaus or panels. The tableaus represents the major wars of the twentieth century--World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War and Gulf War. The center tableau will be larger and will depict the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines and Coast Guard. Jay, Susan, and Sally began working on the unfired clay bricks in April. The eight tableaus took nine months to complete. In December, 2002, the three started disassembling the tableaus--brick by brick. Jay said, "This is very labor intensive. Each brick has a number and a letter, to enable the artists to re-assemble the mural in the proper position." 

After being disassembled, the bricks were loaded and transported to Endicott Clay Products which is located southeast of Fairbury, Nebraska. The first two weeks were needed to allow the bricks to dry. Then they are put in a drier for seven days before they are fired in a kiln. Depicts the panel honoring each of the After the bricks were fired, Jay services. Photo courtesy of Carolyn inspected the bricks before they were transported to North Platte. 

A tent was constructed at Iron Horse Park so that Jay and the bricks can be protected from the winter weather where he reassembled the bricks. Upon completion of the mural, visitors will enter through the bronze eagle crested entry way under the "20th Century Veterans Memorial" large arch. (See the photo below.) Visitors will be standing beneath the larger than life bronze group statue. Then a visitor can continue down the Walk of Honor which holds 8008 bricks honoring veterans. Each brick will be in scripted with the Veteran's name, branch of service, service dates, sentiment or unit. There will be six bronze statues on either side of the walk depicting the honorable military service of men and women during the 20th Century. 

The bronze statues are by artist, Ted Long, a Korean War Veteran. Visitors then pass by the unfurled United States flag and enter the "Place of Mediation." This area displays the names of Veterans from Nebraska who sacrificed their lives during the 20th century wars. The back wall is the work of Jay, Susan and Sally. This wall is 15 feet by 40 feet brick bas-relief mural reflecting "the Blueprint of the entrance arch to the North Platte" America 's Twentieth Century Veterans' Memorial. 

Blueprint of Memorial - Photo Courtesy of Carolyn Nelson. 

Visitors then pass by the unfurled United States flag and enter the "Place of Mediation." This area displays the names of Veterans from Nebraska who sacrificed their lives during the 20th century wars.

The back wall is the work of Jay, Susan and Sally. This wall is 15 feet by 40 feet brick bas-relief mural reflecting "the struggle to preserve peace and freedom during the 20th Century". A special area in the Veteran's Memorial will be dedicated to those great people from North Platte and surrounding area who provided the Canteen at North Platte Depot during World War 11.4 

Diagram of the Memorial - Photo Courtesy of Carolyn Nelson. 

They hope the entire project will be completed by the first part of 2003. A dedication of the memorial will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26,2003. The April issue of Tales and Trails, will have details regarding the Memorial Day Dedication of the North Platte Memorial. Several DCHS members are talking about attending the dedication. The memorial receives no federal funds. It is paid entirely through donations. Individuals or organizations can purchase commemorative bricks to honor veterans or groups of veterans. The bricks cost $150. 

DCHS members are purchasing a brick which will be inscribed "Denton Community Historical Society Veterans." for the Walk of Honor. We have collected $82 but still need another $68. Donations will be accepted at the DCHS membership meetings or checks can be sent to DCHS, P .0. Box 405, Denton, NE 68339. You can learn more about America's 20th Century Veteran's Memorial by going to: 

http://www.20thcvetsmem.org on the internet. You can view the progress made and take a virtual tour through the memorial. 

Jay Tschetter's work on the brick wall of the memorial  Photo by Sue Williams. 

References:20th Century Veterans Association & Nebraska Web Works, 20th Century Veterans' Memorial, January, 2003, 

Voice News, Thursday December 19, 2002, pages 1 and 9.

Personal Interview with Jay Tschetter , December 6, 2002.


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