Transforming Rockford’s roundabout – a big freaking deal
Transforming the roundabout at North Main and Auburn streets in Rockford is a big freaking deal.
What we have there now, at a place dedicated as a veterans’ memorial, is basically overgrown vegetation. What does that say about us?
Caring for our veterans has to be an all-out effort. We got a national reminder about that today:
“A solemn crisis that requires urgent national action,” President Donald J. Trump said March 5, 2019 during a signing ceremony at the White House for an executive order creating a federal task force to address veterans’ suicide.
“Hard to believe an average of 20 veterans and service members take their lives every single day,” President Trump said. “Who would believe that’s possible?”
Think about that:
More than 6,000 veteran suicides a year!
What a statistic. Just as startling as these realities about today’s vets, which we list under the Why our passion? tab on this website:
- Starting in 2020, military personnel who retire after 20 years of service may never have served in a time of peace.
- The suicide rate is 50% higher among veterans.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects an estimated 1 in 10 veterans of the war in Afghanistan and as many as 1 in 5 veterans of the Iraq War.
- Veterans 18 to 34 years old have higher rates of suicide than any other age group of veterans.
- Since 9/11, female veterans who served in the U.S. military have a higher rate of unemployment than male veterans – and an even higher rate than women who have not served in the military.
- 11% of homeless adults in the United States are veterans.
At this intersection anchored by an American flag, are we doing enough to let every veteran passing through see a place of beauty?
- See respect for their service and their sacrifice?
- See the love of their community?
We believe we can unite as private citizens to make a difference for Veterans Memorial Circle. We believe we can make the roundabout a fitting tribute to our veterans.
Let’s do this. Let’s do something that could get just one veteran to rethink.
Please join our Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle project in whatever way you can. Learn more about our grassroots effort here: rockfordveteranscircle.org.
by Ernie Redfern | Co-chair, Friends of Veterans Memorial Circle
Ernie Redfern, an Army veteran, is working on the Beautify Veterans Memorial Circle project with Rick Westlake, chair and manager of volunteer recruitment and fundraising, and with Helen Karakoudas Redfern, co-chair in charge of promotion. Ernie is the project planning supervisor. You can reach Ernie at firstname.lastname@example.org.