USPS sells envelopes depicting Royal Oak WWII memorial

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published December 11, 2013

During the local dedication of the World War II Medal of Honor Forever Stamps, the Detroit Regional Office of the U.S. Postal Service announced Dec. 6 that it also is selling commemorative envelopes depicting the to-be-built Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial.

The envelopes, which are designed to help spread the word about the future project, depict the artwork of Paul Butala and Michael Gordon, who both designed the layout of the memorial.

Debi Hollis, who is the president of the legacy memorial organization, was at one time involved in Honor Flight Michigan, which provided veterans of the war with free flights to Washington, D.C., to see the National World War II Memorial.

“We now want to bring the memorial to Michigan,” she said.

Organizers are hoping to raise $3 million for construction and $1 million to establish an endowment to pay for future upkeep of the memorial.

Once the money has been raised, the memorial will take six months to be constructed and will be built in Royal Oak’s Memorial Park at 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.

Organizers describe it as a 50/50 monument, meaning it will memorialize the soldiers who fought the war and the people back home who worked in the factories.

“We like to tell people the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial is the who, the what and the where of the Michigan war story,” said Russell Levine, the vice president of the legacy memorial organization.

The Medal of Honor Forever Stamp, which was revealed nationally on Veterans Day this year, has the pictures of the 12 medal recipients who were alive when the U.S. Postal Service decided to create the stamp earlier this year.

Lee Thompson, the USPS district manager out of Detroit, said that four have since died.

State Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, a Vietnam veteran, spoke about the stamp and the men it memorializes.

Receiving the Medal of Honor “means this individual decided to go down so his comrades wouldn’t,” Pappageorge said. “That’s why it’s so important to honor those men”

Both the stamps and the envelopes can be purchased at any post office.

Also at the press conference, the Ford United Auto Workers announced it will order replicas of the statues that will appear at the legacy memorial to be built in the lobby of the Veterans Memorial Building, their downtown Detroit headquarters.

“We think honoring our veterans is paramount to our actions as a union,” said Kevin Tolbert, the UAW administrative assistant and executive director of the National Ford Department.

The installment of the pieces, which will be built half the size of the statues that will be in Royal Oak, has personal meaning to Tolbert.

His grandfather, who took care of him from the age of 6, was a World War II veteran.

He said his grandfather would always try to remind him of the importance of Dec. 7, 1941 — the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

“After his death, all of his stories started to make a lot of sense,” Tolbert said. “Now, every Dec. 7, I do the same thing to my son.”