Honored Forever: International President Martinez Dedicates IAM Military Veterans Monument

The IAM Veterans Monument has been dedicated to IAM members who have served their country with a ceremony attended by members, staff, veterans, local officials, and community members.

“The IAM is proud to have among the highest percentage of veterans in the entire labor movement,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., a U.S. Naval Air veteran. 

“Throughout our union’s 135-year history, and continuing through today, our members have served our nations’ armed forces,” said Martinez. “In every conflict, there have been IAM members making that brave choice to defend and protect our freedom.”

In October 2023, multiple delegates of the 40th IAM Grand Lodge Convention expressed a desire to see their union commemorate and thank the many military veteran members of the IAM, past and present.

In response, Martinez made the commitment to recognize and memorialize IAM military veterans in some type of tangible and enduring way, and planning started for what is now the IAM Veterans Monument at the William W. Winpisinger Center campus in Hollywood, Md.

“As I end this stage in my career as International President, it gives me great pride to dedicate this memorial, and more importantly, to continue to expand on the IAM’s commitment to our servicemen, women and siblings,” said Martinez.

The recently-finished structure incorporates multiple symbolic features. The base of it is exactly 21 feet in width, representative of the 21-gun salute, the United States’ presidential and international salute. Poppy flowers, Canada’s Remembrance Day symbol, are planted at the sides of the monument. 

The crests of each individual branch of the U.S. military and a special, custom crest representing the branches of the Canadian Armed Forces are prominently displayed across the monument’s wall. 

An impressive bronze flame statue will sit at the monument’s center, emblematic of an eternal flame used by many nations to symbolize the soul of those who have served, like the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery.

IAM locals, districts and members contributed funds to build the monument. The International President’s Capital Classic golf tournament also raised more than $125,000 toward its construction.

Additional funds left over went towards claims support for the IAM Veterans Services Program, which recently hit the $1 million mark in securing U.S. Veterans Affairs Department (VA) back pay for IAM veterans. 

“I am incredibly humbled to have worked with fellow veterans and fellow IAM members to pull this incredible project together in honor of the IAM’s veterans,” said IAM Veterans Coordinator Rich Evans. “This monument will stand forever as a magnificent symbol of the IAM’s lasting commitment to veterans.”

Evans read a letter to those in attendance from U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and American Legion Post 221 Commander Dan Ion and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 26 Vice Commander Bob Jones briefly addressed the crowd, thanking the IAM for its partnership and support of veterans.

The IAM Veterans Services Program stands ready to assist IAM military veterans in claiming VA disability and benefits or correcting improperly processed claims. The IAM encourages IAM military veterans to reach out with any questions about how this program could assist in their claims process.

The IAM thanks every military service member for their protection and sacrifice.

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