Archer veterans' memorial

Veteran and Archer City Council member Richard Ludeke and council member Bill Engeltjes describe the Archer-area veterans memorial that will be placed on an empty cement pad outside the Archer Post Office along Main Street. Photo by Jessica Karolczak

ARCHER—Archer residents are developing a memorial to honor all area veterans.

The city received a $2,500 grant from the O’Brien County Community Foundation on June 14 for the granite memorial that will be placed to the west of the post office along Main Street.

Vietnam War veteran Richard Ludeke is coordinating the project and hopes to have a dedication ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Ludeke came up with the idea after observing the memorials in all the towns surrounding Archer.

As the postmaster and a city council member, he knew a number of veterans from Archer that he thought should be honored. The city council approved the project and applied for the community foundation grant in early spring.

Goedken Monument Co. in Sheldon will make the memorial out of black granite.

The monument will be 3 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Sandblasted in the upper left corner will be “Honoring Archer area veterans,” and below that, the five service markers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard will be sandblasted.

On the back will be a brass plaque containing engraved names of Archer area veterans. Either the veterans’ service dates or wars served in will be by each name.

Ludeke said many Archer residents already have approached him with names of relatives or friends who were veterans. Some of the names mentioned were Marvin Storm, Harry Kaiser and James Vollink who enlisted in the Navy together during World War II, and who all returned home safely. Storm even witnessed the signing of the peace treaty on Sept. 2, 1945, while aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Jake Vanden Hull, father of former postmaster Bonnie Frangenberg, served in Guam during World War II. Archer resident Virginia Snip served as a nurse during the Vietnam War.

Ludeke also recalled veterans from the Korean and Gulf wars. These are only a few examples of the many residents who made sacrifices on behalf of American safety.

“It jars a lot of memories right from the soul,” said city council member Bill Engeltjes. “We will do diligence and make sure to get all veteran names.”

“We don’t want to forget the sacrifice they and their families made to make our nation great,” Ludeke said. “We need to remember. This is a really big deal for Archer.”

He said the location of the memorial is the “perfect place.” An empty cement slab left next to the American flag outside the Archer Post Office will be used and can be viewed clearly from anywhere on Main Street. With Archer Co-op Grain and some small businesses across from the post office, the street stays relatively busy. A nearby streetlight and building lights will ensure the memorial is lit at night for 24/7 viewing.

“What it’s done is brought the community very much together,” Ludeke said. “Two businesses in town even offered to help with the cost. It’s long overdue.”

TO HELP:

  • Anyone who knows of Archer area veterans or who would like to donate may contact Richard Ludeke at 712-324-1667.