National Memorial of Military Ascent

Plans for a national military memorial designed to represent all branches of the U.S. Armed Services have found a home in Grafton, IL.

Plans are underway in Grafton to create a breathtaking national military memorial as a salute to the sacrifices of the men and women who served in the U.S. military throughout history. The National Memorial of Military Ascent, adjacent to the Grafton Visitor Center and framed by the Mississippi River bluffs is expected to become a reality within the next four years.

National Memorial of Military Ascent

The National Memorial of Military Ascent complex will be built at the city’s Visitor Center and will include a military memorial plaza featuring black obelisks representing all branches of military service, an interactive military museum and life-sized bronze statues of Army Rangers climbing the bluffs in a re-enactment of the Point du Hoc, France military campaign during World War II.

A Capital Campaign fund-raising effort is currently underway led by representatives of the project including: Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow; Don Chamberlin, Treasurer; Brittney Weber, Secretary; Ben Goetten, Jersey County State’s Attorney; Dr. Jennifer Capler, Navy Veteran; Dan Bechtold, Vietnam War Veteran and Grafton businessman; and Tom Woelfel, retired Jerseyville Police Chief. Also on hand will be Jamie Henderson of Henderson & Associates Architects who is designing the project; Veteran’s Memorial Commissioners Cory Jobe, President/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau; Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative and John Simmons, Alton attorney and developer.

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For those who would like to support the military memorial with a financial donation, please click here for more information.

A Memorial For All

“This memorial is designed for everyone,” noted Morrow. “It will be a place of quiet reflection and a place of education. We are doing this so we never forget what our men and women in the military have done for our nation.”

Morrow, a military veteran himself, has passionately spearheaded the project. The Grafton City Council, under his leadership, voted unanimously in December 2022 to look for ways to honor veterans in the city and region.

The Capital Campaign goal is to raise $6 million and Morrow anticipates the project will take four years to complete.