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GRAFTON - If you’re looking for a chance to support the National Memorial of Military Ascent and have a lot of fun while doing it, you’re invited to stop by the “Storm the Beach” event at Raging Rivers.

From 6–9 p.m. on Friday, June 7, 2024, you can enjoy family-friendly activities, photos with a mermaid, a silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, a raffle, live music and more at Raging Rivers. Tickets cost $40 for adults and $20 for kids under 12, and all proceeds support Grafton’s new National Memorial of Military Ascent (NMMA).

The NMMA aims to honor Grafton’s veteran population, which, at 17%, is the highest per capita in Illinois. The NMMA will include a memorial and a museum, located at the Grafton Visitor Center at 950 E. Main Street. Deseray and Brittney are members of the Stars and Stripes Commission, an organization that has taken over the fundraising efforts for the memorial, and they are excited for the Storm the Beach event to promote the NMMA.

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“Anything is possible, especially when the community comes together,” Deseray said. “That’s my favorite part, seeing that it’s actually probably going to happen and sooner than we expected.”

The NMMA memorial will depict the U.S. Army Provisional Rangers’ climb up Pointe du Hoc, a French cliff that was captured by the Rangers on D-Day in World War II. Fifteen life-size bronze cast statues of soldiers will appear to be climbing the bluff near the Grafton Visitor Center, modeled after the Pointe du Hoc scene.

Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow has organized the NMMA, and the community has rallied behind this idea. Many people have donated to fund the memorial. Witches on the Water, an event held every October that Deseray helped organize, donated $26,000 last year alone.

Deseray and Brittney hope the Storm the Beach event will bring in more funds to support the NMMA. They aim to sell at least 3,000 tickets.

“Our capital campaign began in October of last year, so we’ve been working on funding with that,” Brittney explained. “The mayor’s amazing at telling the story, so if you hear it, you’re on board.”

To support the NMMA and learn more about it, you can visit or stop by Raging Rivers on June 7. Jake Weber and the Lonesome Drifters will provide live music throughout the event, and attendees can compete in the patriotic attire contest at 7 p.m. in addition to all of the games, raffles and giveaways that will continue throughout the night. Reenactors from the U.S. 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion of St. Louis will also be there to take pictures. To learn more about the event and purchase your tickets, visit

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