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Monument project accepting donations

The Association of the 99th Infantry Division has hired a grants company to raise $600,000 to pay for the 18-foot statue of the 99th soldier that will be placed at 99th Headquarters in Pittsburgh PA.

An attractive brochure has been printed outlining the details of the monument project.

"To honor the proud men of the 99th who distinguished themselves while defending the crucial Elsenborn Ridge, the north shoulder of the Bulge, against repeated, violent attacks — and every soldier who wore the Checkerboard patch — the Association of the 99th Infantry Division has commissioned a monument that will remind future generations of the sacrifices made by those who have gone before them.

"Noted Pittsburgh sculpture Susan Wagner, whose dramatic works are known for their brilliant design, flawless executing, and attention to detail, has created a design that captures a soldier of the 99th during World War II. Because the achievements of the 99th are the sum total of the bravery and courage of each individual, the artist focused on representing one soldier, prepared for action and moving forward. After researching the 99th and its campaigns, Wagner proposed three designs. One pose was overwhelmingly selected from the three models submitted.

"Wagner will . . . spend more than 12 months sculpting and casting the 18-foot tall soldier that will be the centerpiece of the 99th Infantry Division Monument. The statue will have amazing detail — down to the stitching on the coat — and will be a breathtaking tribute.

"When the statue is finished, it will be transported to the 99th Headquarters in Pittsburgh and mounted on an eight-foot-tall base near the building's central entrance. The soldier will face Business Route 60, which has been renamed the 99th Infantry Division Memorial Highway, and will be clearly seen from the highway. The Headquarters facility will be open to the public, allowing visitors to view the monument, and the monument will be dramatically illuminated at night.

"As an integral part of the project, displays are being assembled that will bring to life the achievements of the 99th and the stories of the men and women who have proudly worn the 'Checkerboard.'

"The location for the 99th Infantry Division Monument has been secured and the base has been prepared. The next challenge is to secure funding in the amount of $600,000 for the creation of the statue and the completion of the Monument.

"Reaching the goal and making the 99th Infantry Division Monument a reality rests upon the unparalleled support of donors at all levels. The Association of the 99th Infantry Division is seeking support from individuals, corporations, local businesses, and foundations to meet the $600,000 goal. The success of this project will rest on the partnership of private and public funding.

Donations are encouraged and should be sent to The Association of the 99th Infantry Division. Mail to Col. Paul Platek, President of the Association, 201 Lakeside Drive, McKees Rocks PA 15136.

All gifts to the Association of the 99th Infantry Division are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

The Association of the 99th Infantry Division, Inc., is tax-exempt under Section 501(c )(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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