Waterloo will soon be home to an Iowa veterans museum. Supporters announced today (Tuesday) they’ve raised the 11-Million dollars needed to match a Vision Iowa grant.
Waterloo attorney Ed Gallagher, Junior, who co-chaired the fund-raising campaign, says he thinks it’s the only museum in the state that’ll honor veterans from the Civil War on through the current Iraq war.
Gallagher says today’s announcement is the culmination of an effort that started as an idea 10 years ago. It’s been a long road, he says, and construction should begin early next year.
Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray, himself a World War Two veteran, is among the project’s supporters. He says the museum will educate future generations about the past, and it’s something all Iowans should support.
Ray says it’s not a museum just for Waterloo or Black Hawk County, but it belongs to the state of Iowa. The former governor says it’ll keep alive the memory of those who’ve sacrificed so much. Ray says the sacrifices that Iowa veterans made should never be forgotten.
Ray says people who haven’t been in combat can’t know what it’s like to be shot at. “I just think it’s high time we pay tribute to those people who were real heroes.” The 26-thousand-700 square-foot museum will be built as an addition to the Grout Museum of History and Science, near downtown Waterloo.
The Iowa Veterans Museum will be named for Waterloo’s five Sullivan brothers, who died together in World War Two. Ray says it’s appropriate that the museum is named for the famous siblings. Ray calls the brothers “a symbol of sacrifice,” saying we should never forget what they did and what they stand for.
The cities of Waterloo and Cedar Falls and the Grout Museum worked together to raise the funds needed to qualify for the nine and-a-half-Million-dollar Vision Iowa Grant. The veterans museum is tied to the area’s Vision Iowa project, including a River Renaissance tourism center.