Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
On a cold and windy morning, March 5, about 25 people gathered to witness the unloading of a ship anchor that soon will be a part of the Veterans Memorial Park in Eden Valley.
The installation later this spring of the anchor in the park will be the culmination of years of effort on the part of the Legion and others.
The Eden Valley American Legion Post #381 had been searching for years for a Navy anchor to complete their new Veterans Memorial Park. Legion adjutant Jim Haag said that Ed Plantenberg's grandson was the one pursuing it, and the one who found it.
The Legion contacted U.S. Sen. Al Franken's office, and they contacted the Navy Curator Branch in Washington, D.C. The Curator Branch looked into the issue and let the Legion in Eden Valley know that they would receive the next anchor that became available.
The anchor that is now in storage in Eden Valley was one of a pair of anchors on display at the Navy Annex. The anchors were recently removed to make way for a cemetery expansion, and the Annex agreed to donate one to Eden Valley's Legion Post. The other anchor is headed to another state.
"I was honored to be part of this effort to secure the Navy anchor for the Eden Valley American Legion Post," said Sen. Franken. "This anchor will be a permanent symbol of the honorable service of veterans in Minnesota and across the country. I look forward to seeing it at the American Legion in Eden Valley this spring."
There was still the problem of getting the anchor from D.C. to Eden Valley.
"Our commander is still in the military," Haag said. "And somebody he knew that works for RDO Trucking got ahold of him, and the guy said, 'You know, we've got trucks coming back and forth, and we'll haul it for you.'"
"It saved thousands," Haag added.
The anchor had made a journey from Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C., through South Carolina to Sauk Rapids and, Monday morning, to Eden Valley. Transportation Engineer Don Stanfield of Cleveland, Tenn., was the driver. (Along the way, when asked what it was he was hauling, Stanfield told people that he'd just bought himself a new bass boat and had to get a new anchor.)
But the anchor had a much longer journey prior to this most recent trip. It was cast in 1942 for the U.S. Navy. It was part of at least two ships before it was retired to the Navy Annex next to Arlington Cemetery. One ship was an ASR-7 class submarine recovery ship during World War II, and the other was a DDG-2 guided missile destroyer from the 1960s until it was retired in the 1990s. The anchor had since been on display near Arlington Cemetery.
The anchor will be moved from storage and installed in the Veterans Memorial Park later this spring, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held.