Collinsville, Oklahoma
November 10, 2011
Charlie Hicks Veterans Memorial
Former Collinsville Resident Honoring All US Veterans Near His Home In Arizona
(On Old Route 66)

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Uncle Charlie's Monument Near Oatman, AZ
From: Charles Hicks
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:34 PM
Subject: : Uncle Charlie's monument near Oatman, AZ

Friends and family,

In case you can't figure how proud I am to see this that has been put on the internet by my former Platoon Sgt, (Mst. Sgt. Edgar Paul Elkins) I'll just tell you the only way I know how, I'm as proud as Jesus will let me be. Thank you Paul and that lovely wife Sue, I know God Has blessed you and I Pray He will continue to do so. And Paul, I noticed The Korean War was not mentioned in the article, so, "WHAT'S NEW.?"!!!!!!

Love to you all,

Uncle Charlie

From: Paul Elkins
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2011 3:31 PM
Subject: Uncle Charlie's monument near Oatman, AZ

The monument was built by our very own Uncle Charlie (Hicks).
I will try to attach the picture from the paper of the monument. I did add a comment below in red what gives here Charles.


Desert memorial --- from the
Mohave Daily News – 9/11/2011

DESERT MEMORIAL: Oatman resident Charles “Uncle Charlie” Hicks stands atop the veterans memorial he constructed almost single-handedly using local desert rocks and cement. The 80-year-old Korean War veteran originally intended to build the memorial for his late borther-in-law, but later expanded it to all veterans, adding a lockbox for donations to local veterans’ organizations. JAMES CHILTON/The Daily News

Oatman man’s hand-crafted monument dedicated to all U.S. veterans

Published: Sunday, September 11, 2011 2:16 AM MDT
OATMAN — If you’re looking for ways to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and you don’t mind driving a little, it may be worth your while to take a trip to Oatman. More specifically, the desert a few miles south of Oatman proper.

There, on a high ridge of cliffs just off of Mile Marker 21, you’ll see an American flag blowing in the breeze. Next to it is a small stone monument to America’s fallen veterans — which may not be unique in and of itself, until you realize who built it.

The memorial, which consists of two stone pedestals and a series of stairs, was almost single-handedly built by Charles “Uncle Charlie” Hicks, a local 80-year-old veteran who himself served in the Korean War. Though hard of hearing, thanks in no small part to the explosions he endured daily in Korea, Hicks is remarkably spry for his age, and carries himself in the manner of a man at least a generation younger.

It’s that youthful energy that helped keep him going when, in late 2009, he decided to build a memorial for his late brother-in-law, World War II veteran Joe Van Landingham, who had died several years prior. It wasn’t until he finished the memorial in March of 2010, however, that Hicks decided to rededicate it to all U.S. veterans, with a special shout out to his fellow Korean War vets, many of whom died so that he and so many others might live.

“God protected me so many times, it’s unreal.” Hicks said. “I think God wanted me to build this. It’s good for my body, and I’ve always wanted to help people and do things like this.”

The memorial is constructed almost entirely of rocks that Hicks salvaged from the surrounding desert, which he cemented together using nearly 18 bags of cement. On top of the pedestal, he also cemented in several pieces of ammunition he’s collected ovoer the years, each corresponding to a different American conflict: the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, (Charles what happened to the Korean War) and Vietnam. He said the initial pedestal took about three months to complete, but he has since continued to add to it, first constructing the stairs leading up to the memorial, then adding a second pedestal to house a lockbox for cash donations, which he said started showing up spontaneously shortly after he completed the first pedestal.

“I’m glad I made that change to it being for all veterans,” he said. “Because people have been leaving things on the pedestal.”

Hicks said he’s collected about $60 from donations left at the memorial so far, all of which he’s donated to local veterans’ charities. But, he added, not all of the visitors to the memorial have been so charitable. The lock he installed on the lockbox has already been removed once, and someone also stole a pair of Van Landingham’s boots Hicks had placed inside the memorial shortly after he completed it.

Still, Hicks said, he likes the idea of other travelers contributing to the memorial. One traveler has already established a “geocache” for it — geocaching is a fairly recent hobby where travelers will use GPS coordinates to locate small, out-of-the-way caches, usually consisting of a small box or container. In Hicks’ case, the cache is a small plastic tube containing a logbook and various trinkets visitors have left behind, though Hicks said he hopes to eventually start adding some of his own photographs from his days in the Army, and he wants to encourage others to do the same.

Ellen DeLong, who runs the Ocotillo Gallery in Oatman, said many of the visitors traveling Route 66 have stopped in and mentioned visiting the memorial. She said it’s quickly become yet another bit of mystique along Oatman’s particular stretch of the Mother Road.

“A lot of people stop in town and talk about it,” she said. “They’ll see the American flag from the highway, and several will usually go out on the dirt road to take a look.”

For those interested in viewing the memorial themselves, it can be found just off County Highway 10 (Route 66) about 1.5 miles south of the Boundary Cone Road intersection. Traveling southbound, the dirt road leading to the memorial can be found on the right, almost directly across from mile marker 21 — just look for the waving American flag.

Hey Ted ~ good to talk to you this morning! Here's the article about my Dad, a Proud Korean War Veteran. He is known by everyone in his beloved "Oatman, Az" as "Uncle Charlie." The original article left out the Korean War. (see the red highlighted note from Dad's former Platoon Sgt) and Dad's response!! Although many of Dad's fellow Veterans from C'ville and the surrounding area have passed on, I hope there a still a few who remember him. Thanks, Barbie Hicks Flanary (11/7/2011)
Some Local Veterans Day Activities
The November calendar has been updated for the Collinsville Vererans activities: 9am Wilson, 10am Ecc, 11am Parade & dinner, 1:30pm Herald
Welcome All Veterans!!! Our annual Herald Elementary Veteran's Day assembly is this Friday, November 11th at 1:30. Veterans are welcome to attend a reception in our school library from 12:45 until 1:30. Our children and staff look forward to honoring you! -- Rachel Chronister (11/10/2011)
We would like for you to know that Wilson Elementary will be honoring our veterans, past and present, at our annual Veterans Day Assembly on Friday, November 11th, at 9:00 a.m. They are very special and we would like to show them how important they are to us, to our community, and to our country. If they plan to join us, we ask that they please call (918) 371-3144 to r.s.v.p. We are looking forward to the opportunity to show our appreciation! -- Thanks! ~Paula Caudill (11/1/2011)
Hi Ted,

I thought you might want to know that there will be 3 generations of military veteran's attending the Wilson Elementary Veteran's Program and they might possibly be attending Herald's Program on Friday as well. My husband Jimmy Davis, his father James Davis and my husband's grandfather Conway Young will be there to be honored along with other veterans, but I thought it was particularly neat because the 4th generation children attend Wilson and Herald.

Thanks for your time. I will get you pictures if you don't get a chance to make either of the assemblies.

Beth Davis (11/9/2011)