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Haskell's World War I memorial rededication set

LAWRENCE, Kan. ? Veterans from across Indian country are being asked to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Haskell Stadium arch and mark the effort to restore the World War I memorial.

The small Arch Committee has struggled to raise funds. It sold tamales, hot dogs, sweatshirts and other memorabilia to help keep the arch from crumbling into history. As they prepare for the Oct. 13 rededication, they are asking Native American color guards from across Indian country to participate.

Committee members said they want to let color guards know that there is little if any money to help them make the trip to Lawrence. A block of rooms has been reserved at a local motel at a lower rate, but there is little more the financially strapped group can do to entice groups to the festivities.

Eli Jackson, committee co-chairman, said he is excited about the rededication scheduled in conjunction with Haskell Indian Nation University's homecoming game.

'The arch will be 75 years old. We will have a plaque ceremony commemorating the arch,' Jackson said. 'We also have located a flag that was made to honor the 114 Haskell students who served in World War I. We only had a black and white picture so we sent it out to a company who is picking the colors they think it should be ? we had three of them made (and) will fly one of them during that weekend.'

A jet flyover from Forbes Air Field in Topeka is planned.

'We've raised about $3,500 toward the arch,' Jackson said. 'Some of that will go toward trying to help color guard groups who come down.'

However, the amount needed to actually begin renovation of the arch will be much more than that, so the committee will continue to try to raise money.

'We will have to raise $50,000 to do the renovation,' Jackson said. 'That will take a long time.'

The committee began by simply wanting to imitate photographs they found of the arch's original dedication. They just wanted to buy bunting and flags to drape the arch for its 75th anniversary. But when they began to inspect the structure, they found the stadium arch, long a landmark at Haskell, was in serious disrepair.

The group then shifted focus and started an all-out effort to bring the arch back to its former glory. They said they hope to see the stadium at Haskell filled with standing room only as it was when the arch was originally dedicated.

They are inviting people from throughout Indian country to join them Oct. 13 to celebrate.

Color guards interested in joining in on the festivities are urged to contact Marilyn Bread at (785) 749-8434.