Dedicated in 2010, the Coeur d' Alene Tribe Veterans Memorial is as visually stunning as it is historically important. Easily accessible from U.S. Highway 95, about 35 miles south of Coeur d' Alene, a steadfast warrior sits astride a horse, holding up a peace pipe, giving testament to the proud Coeur d’Alene legacy of military service. Large granite columns sit on either side of the sculpture, and behind it a rock wall is engraved with the names of tribal veterans from the various branches of the military. On one of the columns reads these touching words, “For them there is no more sorrow or pain. Let them forever sleep in peace and their dreams be realized by those who they defended.”
Bringing the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Veterans Memorial to life took a great deal of time, energy, talent, and coordination between different groups. Tribal members, the tribe's cultural resource department, and local veterans came up with the idea for the project. The Coeur d' Alene group then partnered with architecture and landscape architecture students from Iowa State University who worked to develop designs and plans. Those plans were then blended with those gathered from the tribe's veterans committee as well as ideas from local artists. The centerpiece of the memorial, a striking steel sculpture, was created by local Native American artist, Virgil "Smoker" Marchand. While the thoughts and ideas of many people went into the memorial, it all comes together as a cohesive unit that highlights the service offered by so many members of the Coeur d' Alene tribe. Although the memorial site was dedicated over seven years ago, the space feels just as sacred today as it did then. The well thought out arrangement easily lends itself to meditation and contemplation.
The memorial is located at the trailhead of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. This 73 mile recreational trail was once a rail line that was converted to a bicycling and walking trail. The trail runs from the town of Plummer to the town of Mullan, spanning most of the Idaho panhandle. The trailhead boasts public restrooms, a large parking lot, and picnic tables. In 2015 the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes was named one of the top 25 trails in the nation by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. The entire trail is paved, making it perfect for all ages and all abilities.♦