Colorado State University-Pueblo launched a fundraising campaign Wednesday, Aug. 24, to renovate its Southeast Asia War Memorial in order to honor Colorado soldiers who risked their lives in combat.
The original monument, which is located north of the LARC Building, was first dedicated in 1969 to recognize the 70 service men and women from Pueblo Country who died in the Vietnam War, according to a press release on the university’s website. The original construction cost $6,000.
A fundraising dinner for the memorial renovation will be held Friday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m., in CSU-Pueblo’s Occhiato University Center Ballroom. The expanded memorial will be revealed during Pueblo’s Veterans Day celebration Friday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m.
The renovation’s estimated cost is $86,000, which the CSU-Pueblo Foundation hopes to raise in the campaign, said DenaSue Potestio, president and CEO of the CSU-Pueblo Foundation.
The new memorial intends to provide students on the campus a chance to connect with America’s history when many of students are outside that period of time, Potestio said.
“History is our greatest teacher,” she said. “We need to take the time to look at it so we can make a wiser decision in the future.”
The expanded memorial will have the 623 names of Colorado men and women who lost their lives engraved in gold lettering on the commemorative black granite slabs.
Benches, flora and lighting will be added to the memorial, and the original space will be expanded to make the place more noticeable and inviting, Potestio said.
Currently, the names of the deceased are engraved on two stone tablets at the base of the 80-foot-high flagpole. Their age, branch of service and date of death are also included. However, as time went by, the memorial’s role in recognizing fallen citizens has been forgotten, according to the proposal to renovate the memorial.
“The memorial, over the past 40 years or so, has just not weathered as well as we would like it to, to really honor the men’s sacrifice,” Potestio said.
Therefore, Dr. Luis Valerio, a member of the CSU-Pueblo Alumni Association and a former CSU-Pueblo administrator, proposed that CSU-Pueblo organize a task force in order to refresh the memorial and bring its purpose back.
Members of the task force will include university organizations, such as Associated Student Government, ROTC, Veterans Upward Bound and the Alumni Association, as well as members of city and county government and various other veteran and local organizations, according to the press release.
Anyone who wants to donate to renovation, the fundraising dinner will be open for all students, faculty and staff, as well as members in the community. Tickets are available for $35 each, or $500 for a corporate table of six. Contact Gail Dehaven at 719-240-6157, or the CSU-Pueblo Foundation, 719-549-2380 for tickets or more information.