War memorials are born of love for country Flags and poles are reminders for Sam Kemp PASADENA

February 05, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer Staff writer John Rivera contributed to this article.

Sam Kemp served his country in World War II. But his mission is not yet finished.

The Brooklyn Park florist is preparing to erect a memorial to America's war dead -- his third in the county -- at the intersection of Route 100 and Mountain Road.

Mr. Kemp said he wants to erect as many flags in the county as he can. He puts aside a little money each week, and when he has accumulated enough, puts up a flag and a monument.

That is no mean feat when you consider the price -- an average of $15,000 for flag, pole and installation. The expense, however, is one that Mr. Kemp reveals only reluctantly.

"I'm doing this because of love for my country and what it has done for me. I want to keep our flag in front of people, because we shouldn't forget it," said Mr. Kemp, owner of Cedar Hill Florists.

Mr. Kemp, 72, said his patriotism was born out of his experience as a soldier in Europe during the war, where he witnessed the bombing of London and other horrors.

"When you smell the stink of the dead and when you go through towns and villages and see them completely leveled. . . . I've seen what people went through and I know we could go through the same thing," he said.

The monument, to be built later this month on the back edge of the county's Lake Shore Athletic Facility, will include an engraved stone, a 70-foot flag pole and a 600-square-foot American flag. It will be similar to one he built in 1988, in front of his shop on Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park.

Mr. Kemp also was a force behind the memorial to Sgt. Ronald M. Randazzo, a 24-year-old Glen Burnie man killed during Operation Desert Storm. The memorial stands at Ritchie Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

Community leaders in Pasadena encouraged Mr. Kemp to locate a memorial in the Route 100 corridor and helped obtain the ground.

RF "It will be a landmark in Pasadena," said Frank Halgas, vice presi

dent of the Greater Pasadena Council, which represents neighborhoods throughout the northeast quadrant of the county. You'll be able to see it all the way down Route 100."

Floodlights will illuminate the memorial at night.

Originally, the memorial was planned for the median strip, near ,, the Paul T. Pitcher memorial, but State Highway Administration officials said no.

County Councilman Carl "Dutch" Holland, a Pasadena Republican, said he arranged for the memorial to be built on the corner of the Lake Shore Athletic Facility closest to the highway. A path from a parking lot off Woods Road will lead to the memorial.

"That location is better because it will blend in with the sports complex," Mr. Holland said.

Mr. Kemp said he hopes to throw a big party when the memorial is dedicated, when the weather is warmer, with "every Legion, every Veteran of Foreign War, every missing in action. I even want the governor to come."

And then he'll start saving for the next one. "As long as I live," he said, "that's what I want to do."

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