Rededication ceremony held for Veterans Memorial Circle

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It’s months in the making. The North Main and Auburn roundabout makeover is complete with thousands of new flowers. 

After month of planning dating back to October, the roundabout has finally reached its last phase, ending with a rededication to the people who served our country, such as Vietnam Veteran Mary Nicholls. 

“We were doing our jobs,” Nicholls said. “We were soldiers just doing our job.”

Nicholls remembers the days when she returned home from Vietnam in 1969.

“When we first came back, we were treated harshly, but people have come to accept that we were just soldiers doing our job in recent years,” Nicholls said. 

Now, with the roundabout rededicated to her and the 15,000 veterans in Winnebago County, she says even though it was not in the best shape before, the effort to beautify it in their honor is a blessing.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Nicholls said. “The roundabout was going to wreck and ruin and in bad shape and these people from Churchill Grove and others all came out on their own to make it better and make it beautiful in honor of veterans and I think that is wonderful.”

“It’s about being comfortable with what we have here and honoring the people within our community in a big family embrace of all it’s Veterans,” said Helen Karakoudas Redfern, Co-chair of Friends of Veterans Memorial Circle. 

Officials with the beautification project says Veterans Memorial Circle will always be the city’s physical way of saying thank you to those who served.

“This is to honor the history of this intersection and to honor the people from the area who have served here from the Revolutionary War to the present conflict,” Karakoudas Redfern said. 

“Rockford is known for community involvement and the fact that citizens from Churchill Grove and surrounding neighborhoods banded together and done this with private funds to once again recognize the contribution of veterans means an awful lot and makes the community stand tall,” said John Borling, retired Major General of the U.S. Air Force. 

The work is not done yet. Donations are still needed to maintain the roundabout. People can donate online.

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