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      Civil War monument officially dedicated at Ottumwa Cemetery

      In late October, carver Gary Keenan transformed a dead grand oak tree into a Civil War sculpture. On this Memorial Day, Mayor Tom Lazio and the people who made this project all possible, gathered to officially dedicate the monument before the public.

      " I think it's a great tribute to our fallen soldiers in the past, and this beautiful statue that was carved with the help of the Legacy Foundation and the Trails Committee, it's just a nice symbol looking over all the graves here, the Civil War graves, and Memorial Day is the time to honor all of our passed soldiers, so were happy to be here and dedicate this statue today," Mayor Lazio said.

      Despite a couple downpours of rain, Mayor Lazio, Kim Hellige of the Ottumwa Area Arts Council and Legacyâ??s President Brad Little made it through their heartfelt remarks. Seven cadets of Ottumwa High Schoolâ??s JROTC did a presentation of the colors.

      "The dedication-- just Memorial Day as a whole, it's a real honor for them to ask us to do this," Chief Marvin Wynn, U.S. Army JROTC said. "We really try to instill in these young men and women and these cadets the sense of citizenship. You can't do it with books, the only way I can do it is to bring them to events like this and show what it's like to be a part of the community, so this is an important part we try to still in them but the importance of the military as well. This is a really important thing for us to get across, the citizenship part."

      Under the leadership of Chief Wynn, the JROTC also took part in the wreath placement before the statue.

      "It's a way for us as citizens to remember how important it is the job you know of our predecessors the people before us did to support us and to guarantee our freedoms in the United States," he said.

      After the invocation, the VFW and American Legion Honor Guard did a salute and sounding of â??Taps.â??

      "I feel this is a great way to honor people who have been involved in the community in the past," Mayor Lazio said.

      The Lowly Brass, OHS Meistersingers and Mark Eigsti, a local reverend all took part in Mondayâ??s ceremony as well.