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State signs agreement for Purple Heart Memorial

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[November 14, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Troops who were killed or wounded while fighting for their country will be honored with a new memorial under an agreement signed on Veterans Day by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The memorandum of understanding calls for the Springfield-area chapter of the Order of the Purple Heart to raise money for the memorial. It will stand alongside other Illinois war memorials at Oak Ridge Cemetery, the site of Abraham Lincoln's tomb.

The Historic Preservation Agency will then take charge of care and maintenance for the memorial.

"It's a privilege to be part of this agreement. The men and women who have received the Purple Heart deserve our deepest gratitude for the sacrifices they made," said IHPA Director Amy Martin.

John Lazell, commander of Chapter 159 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said the memorial "reaches across time to all the wars and all the conflicts" where Americans served.

"It is our hope that people of all ages will come to view this monument as a lasting tribute to those who have served our country in war and were wounded in that service," Lazell said. "The Purple Heart medal is one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to those who have served in the United States armed forces. They should never be forgotten."

The Order of the Purple Heart will be able to maintain a vigil or post a guard at the memorial on special occasions.

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Lazell said his group expects to spend from one to two years raising money for the simple stone monument. It will carry the inscription "All Gave Some, Some Gave All."

Oak Ridge Cemetery already includes memorials to those who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It also holds the Lincoln Tomb Historic Site.

The Purple Heart traces its origin back to an order issued by George Washington to recognize outstanding services by soldiers in his army. The modern version dates to World War I and by some estimates has been awarded to nearly 2 million people.


Online: Military Order of the Purple Heart:

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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