American Legion gets new memorial completed for fallen vets

A new memorial in Casper remembers those from the whole state of Wyoming. Everyone who gave their life in service is honored.
Published: Jul. 4, 2023 at 4:46 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A new memorial in Casper remembers those from the whole state of Wyoming. Those who served in the military to preserve our independence and freedoms. Everyone who gave their life is honored, from the Spanish-American war to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new Wyoming Fallen Veterans Memorial sits adjacent to Fort Caspar, at Patterson-Zonta park. American Legion member Dean Welch says the bad location of the previous memorial is what got him and three friends to start pondering.

“They said, ‘Well, it’s too hard to get to. Nobody know it’s there. Okay, we’ll check and see about moving it.’ Well, it’s made out of such flimsy stuff, it didn’t make sense to move it. So we said ‘Why don’t we do something new,’ and we basically started with that.”

Though the Fallen Veterans Memorial took several years to complete, the American Legion is so happy to have it done and ready for the public on Independence Day.

“The planning, basically took it about three years, from ‘let’s do this’ to actually getting it done,” Welch continued. “Once we got the buy-in from the public and all of the very generous sponsors, it was about six months to maybe a year. We’re glad to have it all done by the Fourth of July this year.”

Legion member Ray Wulf spent years in construction after his service was over. He worked with the city of Casper to get the memorial positioned in a high-traffic area, and networked with local businesses to get the funding.

Wulf recalls, “I was rather really amazed by the community itself. Wasn’t great big dollars... It was really big dollars for some, but... You know... Suppliers, contractors... All just stepping up and taking a portion of it. And just doing it!”

And should you ever see a coin laying on the memorial, Legion member Larry Seems says... Please, please leave it there.

“(People) Usually leave them at the gravesite. They’ll leave a penny if they knew the guy. But a quarter if they served with him, and were serving with them when they died in combat. So if you see money on gravestones, that what it means.”