BROOKVILLE — Oliver T. Korb & Sons Inc., of DuBois, will be creating the new veterans monument in downtown Brookville.
The World War II KIA/MIA monument will be located at the Jefferson County Courthouse near the World War I monument. The idea of this three-phase project began with the members of the American Legion Post #102 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #204, both of Brookville. A monument already stands at the courthouse in honor of those from Jefferson County who fought in World War I.
Veteran Randy Bartley emceed the dedication ceremony last Thursday during the Brookville Laurel Festival’s Hometown Heroes Day. He noted that it would be “impossible to name all” the Jefferson County men and women who served in the military during World War II. Instead, there are currently 170 names of those Jefferson County men and women who were either killed in action during the war or are listed as missing in action. Anyone who has a name to add to the list is asked to contact the Jefferson County Veterans Affairs.
Bartley noted that Jim Korb had been able to obtain African granite, the same that is used in the World War I monument, for this new veterans monument. The granite awaits a completed list before employees at Korb & Sons can sandblast them into its polished service. According to Korb, the top part of the monument that is all polished and will have the names is 5 feet by 8 inches by 4 feet and weighs 2,814 pounds. It will sit on a base that is 6 feet long by 8 inches wide by 14 inches high and weighs 988 pounds.
Korb said once the final okay on the names is received, a stencil will be cut with all the names and wording for the monument. The stencil is then attached to the granite and the granite slab is sandblasted. The rubber stencil protects the stone that will serve as the background so that the sandblasting only hits where the names and any other wording are placed. The sandblasting actually cuts the letters into the granite. The letters will be an off white in color to stand out against the dark gray of the granite. The actual sandblasting can be accomplished in a single day. While the equipment is slightly different from what was used when Oliver T. Korb & Sons began back in 1901, there is still an operator who watches to make sure all goes smoothly.
The monument will likely need to be placed using a crane. It will depend on how close Korb’s crews can get to the actual site as to whether they will use one of their crane trucks or need to bring in a larger crane to lift the monument and base onto their foundation.
Korb noted that the monument would likely be placed in September in time for the Jefferson County Courthouse’s 150th anniversary. Until then he is hoping that the 170 names are checked to make sure they are spelled correctly because while new names can always be added, corrections are not always possible. In talking about what can and cannot be done, he said that while the number one may be corrected to become the letter “L,” he couldn’t change say a zero into the letter “A.”
Bartley noted that World War II was a “Time of Heroes,” and talked about his uncles who were World War II veterans. Growing up listening to their stories, he said his Uncle Ben hit Normandy on D-Day plus four. He would have his foot blown off from a mortar shell and spend two years in the hospital. He said the monument honors those who were never able to tell their stories because they never returned home.
Bill Littlefield, commander of both the VFW and the American Legion, and Bartley both mentioned the phases of the project. This year the World War II KIA and MIA monument will be placed. Phase II will be collecting the names and having a monument placed for those Jefferson County men and women who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The third phase will erect a monument to those who served from Jefferson County who served in the Wars of Freedom and the Cold War.
“We have plans to do more. We’ll see it, God willing,” Littlefield said about the three-phase project.