Veterans#8217; monument planned at Burlington Commons

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

BURLINGTON — The Burlington Commons seems like the perfect place for honoring Burlington veterans killed in our nation’s wars, as far as resident Chris Saunders is concerned.

In order to accomplish this, a Memorial Tournament is scheduled in August to raise funds to purchase the monument.

The tournament is four-on-four full court, double elimination basketball and horseshoes. The basketball entry fee is $30 each team on or before Aug. 12 or $50 per team after that date.

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The entry fee for horseshoes is $10 each team before the Aug. 12 date or $20 each team after that date. Entry forms can be picked up at AJ’s Pizza, 6733 County Road 1.

In the meantime, Saunders is looking for names of veterans to put on the memorial. Burlington is in the voting precinct 1, 2 and 3 of Fayette Township.

“We’re looking for names of any veteran killed in any war, providing they lived in Burlington,” Saunders said.

Also, they are looking for names of POWs and MIAs.

Saunders was in the U.S. Air force during the Vietnam War. In the late 1960s, POW/MIA bracelets engraved with the name, rank and the date missing were made to remember those who were missing or in prison. He found one with the name of a Burlington man, Roger Lee Smith.

“I wore the bracelet about five or six years when they found his remains, just a tooth so they buried it along with his uniform at Arlington National Cemetery,” Saunders said. “We had the same rank, same weight. I just don’t want any of these people to be forgotten.”

The most recent resident of Burlington who was killed on Memorial Day was Theodore U. “Tuc” Church, he said.

“When I saw that he got killed, it really hit close to home,” Saunders said.

He thought about the memorial for some time. Saunders talked to his father and another man who thought it was a good idea.

When he presented his idea to a pastor at a Burlington church, he told Saunders it was a good idea - then, his vision began taking shape.

“So, I went home and started looking for different stuff and went to the commons and studied different rules and talked to different people,” he said.

A friend gave him some ideas and they went to the Concerned Citizens of Burlington group, which said it would support the project.

The organization has established a new committee, The Burlington Veterans Memorial Committee with Saunders and Nick Branham, co-chairs.

Tax-free donations can be sent to The Concerned Citizens of the Burlington Area with “Memorial Fund” notated on the check. Mail to: 7163 CR 1, Burlington, OH 45680.

Armstrong Cable Company also offered a lot of support, Saunders said.

“It’s been a whole lot more than I expected, but I have really enjoyed this,” he said.

The group also needs volunteers who would be willing to help during the event.

If anyone has the name of anyone killed in action from Burlington, call Saunders at (304) 412-4852, Branham at (304) 654-9342 or Don or Joyce Saunders at (740) 894-5852.