GRAFTON - The Grafton Veteran’s Memorial Bronze Statutes have been officially ordered and it is described by those associated with the project as “a one-of-a-kind in the world.”

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The National Memorial of Military Ascent (NMMA) signed a contract with Carolina Bronze Sculpture of North Carolina for the creation and production of 12 life-size bronze statues in full World War II military gear. The statues will showcase soldiers with rifles, ladders, grappling hooks, radio backpacks, and stainless-steel ropes. The cost to secure the foundry’s production was $87,360.15.

The foundry is scheduled to send its staff to Grafton for two weeks centered around the 80th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2024, to develop the scans of the soldiers to make the bronze figures. The 2nd Ranger Battalion of St. Louis Reenactors will provide authentic World War II uniforms, equipment, and models for the scanning process to make the bronze figures.

NMMA Project Engineer of Carlton Corp. in St. Louis Mike Jones said that the signing of the contract and initial payment by the NMMA puts the city on track for completion and installation of the bronze figures on the cliff face for the fall of 2025.

Jones has been working on the engineering, timelines, and synchronizing the statue, play, and museum schedules to meet the final completion and dedication date of June 6, 2026.

Jamie Henderson, principal of Henderson Associates Architects of Edwardsville, an architect for the memorial, said they are “excited about getting started with the foundry.” Henderson has been involved from the start of the project, guiding the NMMA and turning their vision into beautiful artist watercolor renditions of the memorial.

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Holmes, Radford and Reynolds, LLC, of St. Louis, has developed and is implementing NMMA’s capital fund-raising campaign.

Dan Reynolds of the St. Louis firm said the fund-raising for the project began in December 2021, before they came on board with the Witches on the Water donations to the memorial that have grown, as he describes, “exponentially.”

“We have had donations of all sizes from all walks of life for the project,” he said.

The NMMA Capital Campaign kicked off on Oct. 11, 2022, at the memorial site.

The Capital Campaign is co-chaired by Retired Col. Mike Morrow, president of the NMMA, and John Simmons, CEO of Simmons Hanley Cory Law Firm.

“John and I are pleased with the overall progress and productivity of our campaign," Morrow said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made online by going to the NMMA web site at or mailing a check to the NMMA, P.O. Box 272, Grafton, IL., 62037. All funds are secured by a partner in the project Carrollton Bank in Jerseyville.

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