Monday, September 19, 2011
The Higgins Memorial in Columbus, Nebraska began as a class research project for the Columbus High School to honor a native son who changed history and all veterans who have served and sacrified their lives defending our nation.
Andrew Jackson Higgins was born in 1886 in Columbus, Nebraska. His experience with the shallow rivers in the area gave him a vision to design and produce the shallow-draft boats which allowed the military the ability to transport men and equipment safely to beaches during emphibious landings in the war.
Higgins Industries was based in New Orleans. During World War II, the company produced 20,094 boats that allowed the US military to land over open beaches.
The memorial includes a full-size replica of the famous Higgins Boat (photo below). The soldiers, from the three wars in which Higgins Boats served, were sculpted by Fred Hoppe.
Around the boat are sand samples from landing beaches across the world where Higgins Boats carried soldiers ashore. (My father-in-law used to collect soil/sand/dirt from places he visited. After he passed away, we would obtain the ground wherever we travel and when we visit his grave, we would scatter around Pa's resting place.)