The Cairo Veterans Memorial is in its second phase of funding. The second phase includes raising funds for five decorative pillars, engraved with a mural of our military branches in action. Each pillar holds a bronze emblem representing a branch of service. Mike and Denise Lowry and Tom and Joey Falch made a $15,000 gift to the Cairo Community Foundation Veterans memorial fund to sponsor one of the five pillars. Mike and Joey are the children of longtime Cairo residents Bob and Suzy Lowry.
Bob shared this story about him and his fellow Cairo residents answering the call of duty. His daughter Joey documented his thoughts and shared it with the Foundation for publication.
December 7, 1941, found the Cairo boys at the gym, practicing basketball. As they passed the Methodist church parsonage after practice, someone shared the news of the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. The war took a terrible toll on the Cairo community, as six were killed in action. One Benny Schlund, was killed at Pearl Harbor in the initial hit on the USS Arizona.
Three members of Bob’s class left school as juniors to enter the service: Lloyd Nunnenkamp, Don Stoeger and Richard Engle. Engel was killed at Normandy.
After high school graduation in 1944, several Cairo boys entered the service: Bob, Bruce Laughlin, Ralph Grabowski, Frank Perkins and Earl Brundage. All returned safely after the war.
Bob enlisted in the Navy on July 5, 1944. He then started college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. While waiting to be called up, he tried out for and made the football team. Just before the team’s first game, against Minnesota, he was called to active duty. The athletic department didn’t get the roster for the game changed in time, so Bob’s parents heard “Bob Lowry” go into the game over the radio, when he was really in Farragut, Idaho in boot camp.
The Cairo Community is grateful for the sacrifices all our veterans made and are making today to keep us safe. The Cairo Community Foundation and the Veterans committee is thankful for all gifts received to make the Veterans Memorial Park. The committee is seeking $45,000 in funding to complete phase two of the Veterans Memorial Project. Donations can be made and veterans memorial bricks can be purchased at the Village of Cairo Office. You can also contact Charity Adams at 308-379-9119 or donate online by clicking this link.