North Idaho

Coeur d'Alene may get memorial for War on Terror casualties

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - CdA War memorial

Kootenai County residents killed in the War On Terror may soon have their own memorial.

Outside the Kootenai County Courthouse you can find a memorial to residents killed in action from the Vietnam War all the way back to the Spanish American War. What you won't find there is a memorial to those residents killed in the War On Terror. Now people are trying to change that.

The 8-foot tall black granite slab outside the Kootenai County Courthouse serves as a stark reminder of the ultimate price paid for freedom.

"I believe that we have an obligation, a responsibility to recognize the sacrifice that people make when they go off to war," said Kerri Rankin Thoreson, curator of the RD Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza.

The memorial plaza was built by Ronald D. Rankin; his daughter Kerri is now the curator.

"It was so important to him, he was absolutely passionate that no public money ever be used for the enhancement or maintenance of the plaza," said Rankin Thoreson.

So when she decided to build a memorial to those lost in the War On Terror, the Fraternal Order of Eagles were the first to donate.

"When the two soldiers passed away we were trying to think of something we could do at our local level to make sure that their sacrifices were never forgotten," said Heather Callahan, president of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, ladies auxiliary in Coeur d'Alene.

Some of the first names on that memorial will be Spc. Nick Newby and Sgt. Nate Beyers. Members of the Idaho National Guard, they were killed in Baghdad in 2011 by a roadside bomb.

The new memorial will also be black granite with a life size bronze battlefield cross next to it.

"(It's) the soldiers boots, the rifle with the bayonet in the ground and the helmet on top," said Rankin Thoreson, describing a battlefield cross.

Rankin Thoreson needs to raise $5,000 in donations to complete the project, tentatively scheduled for a dedication in September.

"I'm confident that once again the citizens will once again step up and say, we need to recognize and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice," she said.

Donations can be made to:

Veteran Memorial Plaza Fund
c/o Board of Commissioners
PO Box 9000
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816