Car Cruise held to help fund Gage Park World War II Memorial

Published: Sep. 20, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - People gathered to check out over 65 cars, trucks and motorcycles for the first-ever Gage Park Memorial Family Car Cruise Sunday.

The earnings from the event go towards the addition of a World War II Memorial in the park which costs $75,000 and has been in the works for seven years.

Bruce Couch, a Board Member of the Gage Park Memorial, said events like the car cruise raise awareness about the other monuments dedicated to area veterans in the park as well as the sacrifices made by veterans.

“A lot of people don’t even realize that the Gage Park Memorial is here they drive by it every day but they’ve never even see it,” he said.

“It’s veterans giving back to veterans so the memorial here honors all veterans that served whether they’re with us still or if they passed.”

David Goodrich stopped by to check out the transformation of cars throughout the decades.

“As cars get older and the years go by the cars get more and more classic and older with time, just to see the shape of them and it brings back memories,” he said.

He said he was pleased to help preserve history for future generations by helping fund the memorial.

“Building the memorial keeps the legend going and I think it gives younger generations the chance to learn what the older generation is about during the earlier years of the war around the stress or the comfort and the closeness that people have for each other and the division between the countries.”

Also on display were restored vehicles used by armed forces courtesy of Rolling Thunder Military Vehicle Preservation Association.

“It makes us feel good that we can pull these vehicles out of our garages so we can help honor the dedications of the memorials and the veterans that did use these vehicles,” spokesman Steven Hood said.

Couch said the spirit of the local car community is part of what makes them the right group to share the momentum of creating the memorial.

“Working with car guys and gals here in Topeka is great everybody works together we have a good time it’s all about enjoying each other and our cars," he said.

“Freedom is not free there’s a lot of people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us in the United States of America to enjoy that freedom so freedom and to be able to come out and enjoy it with the family or individually and just sit here and remember the ones you lost in war that’s what it’s all about.”

The car cruise leaves Gage Park Memorial Board Members just under three thousand dollars away from reaching their target to construct the WWII Memorial.

Couch said once that goal is reached, the Board will then begin raising money to construct a Vietnam War Memorial.

The group plans to hold the car cruise plans to make it an annual event.

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