GCVM History and Mission
Created in 1988, the Greater Cleveland Veteran's Memorial, Inc. (initially named the Greater Cleveland Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, Inc.) was formed to honor those who served, died, or were declared missing in Vietnam from the Greater Cleveland area, defined as Cuyahoga county. This initial band of Vietnam veterans, however, recognized the need for a broader mission and the participation of veterans of all wars in this special project. The scope of the evolving GCVM mission: to create and maintain an appropriate memorial to those Greater Clevelanders who died or were declared missing in service to our nation in the wars that have taken place in the 20th century. Our mission expanded to include the casualties of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the most challenging tasks was to compile and verify the names of servicemen killed or missing from the Greater Cleveland area. At its dedication in 1964, on the granite basin of the Veterans' Memorial Plaza (formerly Mall 'A'), Marshall Fredericks' majestic centerpiece (the Fountain of Eternal Life, symbolizing mankind rising out of the ashes of war), are names of World War II and Korean War casualties from Greater Cleveland who perished in those wars. Marshall Fredericks described his central Figure, towering 46 feet above the basin, in this way:
"This Figure expresses the main theme of the Memorial Fountain, namely, the spirit of mankind rising out of the encircling flames of war, pestilence, and the destructive elements of life, reaching and ascending to a new understanding of life. Man rising above death, reaching upward to his God and toward Peace."
Our objective is to add the names of servicemen killed or declared missing from Cuyahoga County from all wars beginning with the Spanish-American War through the Iraq and Afghanistan War to the Memorial Fountain. The GCVM's Honor Roll Project, chaired and directed by Bob Camburn, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, has worked diligently since 1989 to research names and locate biographical information on, and photographs of, our war casualties.
At its dedication, there were 4,155 names on the existing Memorial Fountain. These names represented Americans who died during WWII and Korea. At the rededication in 2004, the GCVM added 1,361 additional names to the Memorial Fountain to include those Greater Clevelanders who died in the Spanish-American War, WWI, Vietnam, and the initial six casualties of the war in Iraq. This number also included those who perished during WWII and Korea, for whom we found information, but whose names were not on the Memorial Fountain. To review the Greater Cleveland Veteran's Memorial Honor Roll Criteria please see the Criteria page.
The Greater Cleveland Veteran's Memorial, Inc., an Ohio corporation not for profit, is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation representing veterans throughout Cuyahoga County. Initially, the GCVM's plan was to design, construct, and perpetually maintain memorial sculptures on Veteran's Memorial Plaza coordinated artistically with Marshall Fredericks' sculpture, "The Fountain of Eternal Life", in addition to adding the names of Greater Cleveland's war casualties to the Memorial Fountain. Along with the explosion in technology, the GCVM's plan evolved into the creation of a "living memorial" to honor our war casualties in place of the more traditional sculptures. This web site is our "living memorial" to those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. This living memorial invites family, loved ones, friends, comrades-at-arms, acquaintances, and strangers to enter and learn about those who served and died. Help us to remember - - to memorialize - - the service and sacrifice reflected in these names. Help us as we continue to gather accurate information, including photographs, of all 5,552 patriots honored on this site. Each name represents a person whose life was cut short in service to duty, honor, and country. We owe a sacred obligation to these fallen heroes that the generations to come not forget what they have done. This living memorial will ensure that Greater Cleveland's casualties of war spanning the 115 years from 1899 to 2014 will not be forgotten.