Unveiling to take place Veterans Day (Sunday, November 11), at 2:00pm service
by Janice Minton-Kuntz
LANSING, Ill. (November 7, 2018) – The Lansing Veterans Memorial at the Lansing Municipal Airport is missing just one thing, according to animal advocate Tom Luberda of Lansing. Luberda was one of the founding fathers of the memorial, and he felt it was incomplete with out a tribute to Artus, the scout dog who served in Vietnam with handler John A. Meeks II, (Vietnam 1970-71).
The bond between Meeks and Artus was so great that Meeks wrote a book about his experience, Before, During, and After VIETNAM: a story of a Scout Dog Handler and his Dog. Artist Anna Carroll, who depicted the soldiers at the memorial and did the granite etchings in the memorial wall, also created a likeness of Artus, who now stands guard on the north side of the memorial. Lansing veteran Seamus McLoughlin is the sculptor who brought the renderings to life.
The unveiling will take place on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, 2:00pm. In addition, the service will include an observance of the centennial anniversary of WWI, the so-called “War to End all Wars.” The actual dedication of the war dog statue will take place on Memorial Day 2019.
The bronze German Shepherd statue measures 45″ L x 17″ W x 32″ H. The dog is standing alert in the weeds, simulating his work in Vietnam.
About Artus the war dog
Artus was born in Germany in December of 1965 and acquired by the U.S. Army on December 19, 1966. He went to Vietnam in August 1967. Artus served with the 101st Airborne Division, and Meeks was the sixth of seven handlers who worked with Artus. Artus was killed in action on December 12, 1970.
Meeks said, “He was a great dog—smart, loyal, and unafraid. I always felt safe when he was by my side. Because of him I was able to return home without a scratch. He was my buddy, my partner, and my protector. Even though he was KIA 12/11/70 he will always be by my side.”
Also helping in the creation of the War Dog Memorial are:
- Gary (“Lt. Dan”) and Moira Sinise (who gave $1,600 toward the memorial)
- Dr. Davis Jones, DVM Veterinarian
- US War Dogs Association, Kokomo, Indiana
- Marine Corps League, Calumet Detachment
- Veterans Group “Ramos Raiders,”
- Chicago Heights Vet Center
- Fire Base Josephine
- Committed to Heal
- VFW Post 1151, Kokomo, Indiana
- Capt. Joseph Bijak, USMC, Vietnam
- VFW Post 2791, Tinley Park, Illinois
- Corpsman Frank “Doc” Wayne, U.S. Navy
- Mike and Phil Clarke’s Garden Center, Ford Heights, Illinois
The War Dog Memorial is not yet fully paid for. Interested contributors are requested to call Tom Luberda: 708-895-1321.
The Lansing Veterans Memorial is located at the northwest corner of Burnham Avenue and Glenwood-Lansing Road.
- Lansing Veterans Memorial (November 2017 article)