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Fallen Soldier statue dedicated in Fulda on Armed Forces Day

Justine Wettschreck/Daily Globe Gerald "Doc" Schwarz stands beside the Fallen Soldier statue that is placed at the top of the pathway of Fulda's Veteran Memorial Park. Schwarz and others dedicated the statue Saturday in honor of Armed Forces Day and all the men and women who served in the U.S. military.1 / 2
Justine Wettschreck/Daily Globe The path in the park, lined with pavers, winds down along Seven Mile Lake in Fulda, and contains several historical markers. Saturday, several citizens took the time to read the markers and soak in some of the beauty of the park.2 / 2

FULDA -- Veterans, citizens, adults, children and even a small dog were on hand Saturday afternoon to dedicate the Fallen Soldier statue at Fulda's Veteran Memorial Park.

Gerald "Doc" Schwarz, a driving force behind turning the memorial park and statue from a dream to a reality, welcomed those who had gathered on Armed Forces Day to see the statue and acknowledge the sacrifice service men and women have made to preserve the freedom of Americans.

The acknowledgement and remembrance, Schwarz stated, is why the statue was placed at the top of the path leading into the memorial park.

"It is to remind us as we walk down the pathway," he said.

The path winds down to the lake, where a gazebo, several benches and some historical markers await those who are interested.

"This park gets used a lot," Schwarz said. "People sit and watch the lake, or walk down to read the markers."

Pavers line the bottom of the path, listing the names of those from the area who served in the armed forces. Selling pavers and asking for donations helped pay for the statue that now overlooks the park.

Loretta Gehl, president of the Fulda Heritage Society, reminded the small crowd that on the very spot the memorial park sits, there used to be a memorial built in the 1920s to honor those who had served in World War I.

"Among the early pioneers who settled in Fulda were many veterans - veterans of the civil war," Gehl stated. "They made a memorial called Prairie Hill in honor of their fallen comrades."

The heritage society has plans to spruce up that memorial, she added.

"Our main objective is to research the area's history, discover and record what we find," Gehl explained, then gestured to the Fallen Soldier statue, a bronze sculpture depicting a pair of worn boots, a rifle and a soldier's helmet. "Memorials such as this will be remembered in coming generations."

The historical markers and plaques placed around the area by the heritage society were there for future generations who will have no memory of the events that took place so long ago, she said.

"We will continue marking events in history and hope that the next generation will continue to do so," she added.