Memorial Project
Dove Creek, Colorado

  I am doing a project for our local VFW Post (Veterans of Foreign Wars) to honor our KIAs, MIAs and POWs from all overseas conflicts..
It will be a small memorial that will be on permanent display at our post but will also be able to be taken to special events around the community such as Independence Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, schools, etc.
The memorial will consist of a square 24" base, approximately 10-12" tall bearing the logos of the branches of the US Armed Forces. On top of the base will be a rifle (1903, M1, or M16) muzzle down with a helmet on it, and a pair of combat boots. The top of the base will be covered with dirt, sealed with polyurethane or some such material. On the sides will be illustrations of various campaign medals awarded over the past 100 years.

             Here's a very crude illustration
The final version may be an M1, 1903 or M16/M4


           Sign that will be placed on memorial

                                                                               Click to enlarge

  We would have liked the soil on the base to contain samples from Europe, the Pacific Theater, Korea, SE Asia, Panama, North Africa and the Middle East/SW Asia theater; basically, anywhere American servicemen have fallen in conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries....BUT

Bad News - Dept. of Ag rules prohibit dirt entering the country unless it has been properly sterilized. That consists of filling out their forms and arranging to have it treated at an approved facility when it enters the country etc.

Good News - But they say that sand and rocks containing no organic material are exempt from the sterilization procedure!

From USDA:

The following items are exempt:

Peat, cosmetic mud and other mud products from fresh water estuaries or the earth’s upper surface, if processed to a uniform consistency, and free of plant parts or seeds

Volcanic rock, pumice, geologic samples, drilling cores, or mud, if mined so it is free of organic material

Any sediment, mud, or rock from the oceans of the earth

So... due to the difficulty in obtaining the foreign soil I have decided that a sample from each state, in addition to what I might be able to get from overseas, would be appropriate for the memorial. If you are able to send a tiny sample from your home state it would be greatly appreciated. An ounce or less is perfect. Make sure it's wrapped well so it doesn't leak out and freak out the USPS folks. Also include a note inside saying it's a dirt sample.
Please e-mail me first to avoid duplications from the same state. See list below of what we still need.

I will see to it that anyone making a donation to this project receives a letter of thanks from our Post Commander.

Remember, just a tiny bit, like a teaspoon full, or a 35mm canister, will be fine.

Utah Bob

And remember to include your alias/screen name!!

Bob De Groff
PO Box 102
Cahone, Colorado 81320

I have received a sample from the Brown states, and committments from the Red states and countries.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas

California Colorado Connecticut Delaware

Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho

Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas

Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland

Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi

Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada

New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York

North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma

Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina

South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah

Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia

Wisconsin Wyoming


Sicily   Guam    North Africa    Normandy   England   Germany

The Philippines   Vietnam   Iraq   Afghanistan  Okinawa
Progress Updates
Soil samples received so far.
Drying out on 1/28
Side panels for campaign medals completed 1/26
Putting the base coat of soil on the platform. 1/30/12
Base assembled an replica M1 obtained along with original WWII steel pot  1/1/2012
98% complete. Only lacking the soil from a few states
Left Side
Right Side
To break it down simply remove the rifle and pull the grenade ring. That's right...grenade ring. Don't be scared.
The platform is hinged and raises. It conceals storage space for the helmet, bayonet, sign, and campaign medals.
Side panels are stowed in their protective cases.
A  slip cover goes over the whole thing. The  carrying handles are concealed beneath the side panels when assembled. The rifle goes in it's own case and we're ready to transport the unit to schools meetings, etc.
3/29/12 The M16 replica arrives!
In place at the post in it's Vietnam mode.