'That legacy needs to be carried on': Veterans worried as WWI monument faces demolishing

A colonel is hoping for some help as an eight-story tall WWI monument faces demolishing if enough money isn't raised to move it.

The Michigan War Veterans Memorial was erected in 1939 during WWI. The 40-foot stone monument sits at the southwest corner of the Michigan State Fairgrounds.

"There are stones from cities all over Michigan represented here," said Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Craig Stigleman.

But the monument was slowly destroyed. The copper pipes inside have been stolen, and the stones are crumbling. The eternal flame on the top has since been turned off.

"It was turned off about 20 years ago and the monument allowed going to decay," he said.

And now, the new owners of the property, Magic Plus LLC, want to redevelop the state fairgrounds. The monument, which is owned by the state, has to go. 

"We truly have until the end of September to figure out how to get something done and move this someplace in storage so we can re-erect it," Col. Stigleman said.

The state gave the Colonel permission to move the monument to the Millikan State Park on the Detroit River, but there's a cost.

"We're about $650,000 is estimated by the DNR and the DTMB, office of management and budget for the State of Michigan," he said.

The Colonel has raise about $250,000 for the project so far, but every stone has to be removed one-by-one, stored, and then replaced at the Millikan State Park.

"Think of the memories of those soldiers that fought for our country, that legacy needs to be carried on," said Retired U.S. Army Col. Dr. Eunice J. Banks.

"We're 100 years from when this monument was built or somewhere thereoff, and down the road, when this one goes when do we lose the Vietnam veterans monument? When do we lose the Iraqi Kuwait Afghanistan? When do we forget those guys, when do we forget those men are women?" Col. Stigleman said.

Donations can be made to the non profit Heritage Monuments of Michigan.