MONTICELLO – In front of the White County Government Center sits a bench between two rock beds. Ordinarily there is water running down the small waterfall to the left of the bench, but with the cold weather, the rock bed sits dry.
This is the centerpiece of the memorial for soldiers who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Five large stones engraved with the names of White County soldiers who have died are placed around the memorial. To the right sits the 30-inch Fallen Soldier statue with an American flag flying to the left of it. The helmet and boots are painted the color of sand to match the uniform of the troops fighting in the desert.
Mike Sanson of Monticello spent 24 years as an infantryman in the National Guard. In commemoration of those soldiers, Sanson had the statue made and placed in the memorial.
The statue will be dedicated Sunday during a Veterans Day ceremony in the city 100 miles west of Fort Wayne.
The memorial has been there since 2008, but Sanson wanted to add something that would draw attention to it for those visiting or passing by the courthouse.
When I found out (the statue) was available, it was just my drive to get something put up here, other than making it look like a pretty place in front of the courthouse, Sanson said.
Lynn of Lynns Concrete Lawn Ornaments said she found the helmet-and-boots mold after someone had cast a similar statue in southern Indiana. Sanson then contacted Lynn, and she made one for him.
A garrison flag will be the backdrop of the dedication and commemoration, while two local high school students will play taps – a tune played during military flag ceremonies and funerals. Monticello Mayor Ken Houston and State Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston, will speak at the commemoration.