War memorial: some say good idea, bad location

War memorial: some say good idea, bad location
By: Mike Shain

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Plans for a veterans memorial on the grounds of Common Pleas Courthouse met up with opposition at a public hearing Thursday in Cape Girardeau.
World War II combat veteran and retired university professor Lawrence Breeze told the packed meeting, "I'm not comfortable breaking ranks with veterans, but I cannot agree with the siting of the proposed octagon."
Viet Now, an organization of Vietnam War veterans, wants to build an octagon shaped memorial to soldiers who served in both world wars, Korea and Vietnam.  The park behind the historic courthouse has long had monuments to Union and Confederate veterans of the Civil War.

Breeze, along with Old Cape and others fear the octagon would take up too much space.  The small park is used for events from weddings to concerts.  Old Town Cape, an organization involved in revitalizing the downtown business district, favors a location other than Common Pleas Courthouse.

Several alternatives were suggested including, Freedom Corner in Capaha Park which already has a large monument erected and maintained by the American Legion.  Others suggest locating the octagon at Cape Girardeau County Park, also the site of a veterans memorial.

Roger Brown of Viet Now said none of the other locations is suitable.  He told the meeting that locating the octagon away from a street would be "ludicrous, that would be like we're ashamed of it and hiding it."

Thursday's meeting was to give people a chance to speak out.  A final decision on use of the courthouse is up to the city which owns it and the county that leases it.