M44 placed in its new home at Ratz Memorial Park in Red Bud

LOWERING INTO PLACE–The M44 that the Red Bud VFW adopted is pictured being lowered into place at Ratz Memorial Park on the morning of Oct. 5. The M44 will be formally dedicated during the Veterans Day ceremony at the park on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Even though it was raining on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 5, quite a few people still came out to see the arrival of the M44 self-propelled Howitzer at Ratz Memorial Park in Red Bud.

Its journey to Red Bud has been more than a decade in the making and has become a community project. “It’s been a long project and I feel relieved it’s finally here,” said Red Bud VFW Commander Clarence Nail.

Nail noted that back in 2011, Virgil Liefer, who was the post commander then, had wanted to see a piece of military equipment on display here. So Nail started working on the application and in early 2012 submitted it to the U.S. Army Donation Program.

The application included getting city council approval, which was granted in March 2012, and then creating a booklet of information and documentation to prove that the piece of equipment would indeed have a home here.

Then, at the Aug. 7 council meeting this year, Nail told them that they had been approved and an M44 was available.

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.