In the 1940s the Marion community constructed an Honor Roll of Marion County WW II service men and women at the west end of the courthouse. Over the years, the wooden structure slowly deteriorated from weather conditions, and it was eventually removed from the courthouse in the 1970s.
When the Honor Roll was taken down, the idea of replacing it with a permanent WW II memorial was first conceived by a small group of people consisting of Bob Richardson, Jim Riedl, Jim Sloan, Maxine Marshall and Dick West. Although two (Richardson and West) are now deceased, the dream lived on and began to take shape in the late 1990s with the formation of the Marion County WW II Veterans Memorial Committee. The committee members were committed to building a memorial benefiting the significance and magnitude of the total WW II effort.
The committee consulted with local veterans groups and reached a consensus to proceed with the plan. The Marion Cemetery Association donated the land, and the group raised approximately five hundred thousand dollars from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund the project and make the dream a reality. The memorial was dedicated Memorial Day, May 28, 2001.
It is one of the largest memorials outside of Washington, D.C., and stands as a symbol of gratitude for the sacrifices of local WW II veterans.