The United States Marine Corps Memorial was a dream of Staff Sergeant Cyrus “Bo” Bowers, who led the effort to build the Memorial in 1974-77. It was dedicated by Commandant Louis H Wilson on Aug 24, 1977.
In 2006, and again in 2015, major improvements were made to the property. The 2015 efforts were led by “Leadership Jefferson County” – a local group of business leaders formed by the Chamber of Commerce. They introduced the idea of a great remodel effort to make the Memorial more noticeable as many didn’t know it existed and drove by it daily never noticing it was there. The effort began soon after.
Architect Ian Anderson along with the Marine Memorial Association (MMA) began design efforts that were formally approved. Subsequently, the USMC Memorial Foundation was formed to complete the renovation and bring the Memorial into the 21st century. It absorbed the MMA which had long been part of the Marine Corps League and is now a stand-alone 501(c)3 Foundation. See more at www.USMCMemorialFoundation.org
The Foundation consists of Marines and their organizations who sit on the board. The President, Paula Sarlls is a Vietnam veteran, Gold Star Wife and Gold Star Sister-in-Law, Past National President of the Women Marines Association (’05-’08) and President of the CO Columbines-WM History Chapter since 2008. She has led the Memorial organization since 2012. The VP is Bill Purcell who is a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, President of the 1st Marine Division Association, and a businessman of note. The Treasurer, Tim Dunn, is a Vietnam veteran who is a leader in the 1st Marine Division and other Marine organizations and another businessman of note. The Secretary, Mary Eckhout is a Marine wife and mom and a leader in the Young Marine program for many years. She is an entrepreneur owning her own bookkeeping business. Learn more about them and other board members at the website.
Other organizations represented on the board include the Marine Corps League, VFW Post 1, Cooper’s Troopers, National Marine Corps Business Network, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and various active-duty units around Colorado.
The plans to remodel the Memorial and create a Visitor/Veterans Center are located on the website. Put simply, the United States Marine Corps Memorial will be prominent when traveling in or through Golden, CO from I-70, US 6, or US 40 or any of the other tributaries in the area. Over 200 automobiles pass by the Memorial each day on those streets. The Memorial remodel
utilizes all 3.5 acres of the triangular-shaped property at 6th and Colfax. It will include 5 walkways and an Honor Plaza with brick projects. Brick donations will be the main source of revenue for the maintenance of the property. On the Memorial property alone, there are 60,000 bricks. You can donate the info for inscription on a brick and receive a certificate suitable for framing as a memento thank you.
The Visitor/Veterans’ Center is Phase II of the project and includes a 4-story building with a Visitor Center that will tell the story of the Memorial and have individual histories of Marines and other veterans on display. It will point people to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and encourage them to visit that great museum. This project in no way competes with the museum but supports them. There will be spaces for counselors and resources, an auditorium for training and education, offices, and a grand ballroom on the top floor for events.
Sponsors of the project to date include Matrix Design, Merrick & Company, Howell Construction, Kim Monson, Strata Resources Inc, Granite Peak Group, Twin Bridges LLC; Gen John Allen, USMC Retired; Lt Gen James E Livingston, USMC Retired, MOH recipient; Maj General Wm F Mullen, III, USMC Retired; Affordable Auctioneering; and others.
Here is a photo of the entry to the new Memorial, check out the flyover view and other designs on the website at www.USMCMemorialFoundation.org