Nearly 50 years after the village of Brookfield dedicated the roundabout at Eight Corners as its Veterans Memorial Circle, local officials, veterans and VFW members, and residents returned on June 3 to rededicate the circle – newly improved with a larger, impressive fountain whose spray can now be seen from blocks away.
The roughly $800,000 improvement, funded through a $250,000 state grant and Eight Corners TIF District revenues, sprang to life around 11:30 a.m. after a 10-second countdown following a 25-minute ceremony.
“Today we reaffirm and acknowledge the sacrifice of all of our nation’s veterans as we rededicate this memorial,” said Village President Michael Garvey. “May it forever stay as a reminder to us all of the debt of gratitude we owe those who have served and continue to serve.”
The rededication especially resonated with members of Joshua W. Harris Brookfield Memorial Post 2686, named in honor of the 21-year-old Brookfield resident killed in action while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan on Sept. 17, 2008.
“This is not just a fountain, it is a monument – a monument to the men and women who raised their hand and swore to defend our country and its freedoms,” said Eric Morales, commander of Post 2686. “It symbolizes the respect and gratitude we have for our veterans.”
Maj. James Brock, who commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 122nd Field Artillery, said he served with Harris from August 2005 until Harris’ death and got to know the family after the unit returned from overseas. Brock was present when the Brookfield VFW post was renamed in Harris’ memory.
“Because of Josh, I feel as if I have a special connection with Brookfield,” Brock said.
He also emphasized the importance of memorials, like the fountain.
“This fountain is a reminder of the price that has been paid for our liberty,” Brock said. “It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the burden shared by those left behind and the impact that losing a loved one has on our families, our workplaces and our communities.
“People leave a footprint, their contributions make a difference, and their loss leaves an irreplaceable void.”