BY CAROLYN P. SMITH
The mission of making sure that eight men who answered the call to patriotism and service of the United States was not forgotten Saturday as a crowd braved temperatures in the low 30s to celebrate their memories and legacy.
The event was the dedication ceremony for the Veterans Monument at Messinger Cemetery at 3450 Old Collinsville Road near Swansea.
The monument is in honor of the eight veterans buried in the cemetery:
John Messinger, who served in the Blackhawk War; Pvt. John Altman, Pvt. H.B. Bevirt, Pvt. William A. Isaacs, Cpl. Daniel J.M. Phillips, Cpl. George D. Rittenhouse and Pvt. William H. Rutherford, who served in Company 1, 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War; and F1C John E. Neill, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War I.
After several men dressed in period clothes posted the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance was cited and the national anthem was sung, several people talked about the bravery and willingness of the men who fought in the Blackhawk War, the Civil War and World War I.
"Nothing is really ended until it is forgotten. Whatever is kept in memory still endures," said regent Gail Evans of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. "Therefore, we the members of the Belleville chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicate this marker in grateful recognition of the significance of this site.
"Today, we are setting in stone the memory of eight men who served their country in three wars, the Blackhawk War in Illinois, the Civil War and World War I. Three totally different conflicts, one against indigenous people, another against fellow Americans and the third against foreigners from across the sea.
"The broad scope of wars illustrates the loyalty to their country of these eight men who answered the call to serve whether it was in their home state, a state far from home or in a distant land," she said.
The monument, which is 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, lists the names of the men on one side and the supporters who provided the money to get the monument on the other side.
Tisch Monuments in Belleville made the unpolished granite monument, which cost $1,800.
William P. Shannon IV, curator of the St. Clair County Historical Society, said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would not give any money for the monument.
Because "We felt it was the right thing to do, the Sons of Union Veterans and us got together to determine where we could get the money. I remembered the Daughters of the American Revolution. We applied for the grant last December and found out in April we got it," Shannon said.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution issued a grant of $910 for the project.
Additional money was provided by the St. Clair County Historical Society, Sons of Union Veterans and the Belleville chapter of DAR, Shannon said.
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