Crimson Geraniums in full bloom elegantly decorated a new granite star in the village surrounded by more than 200 names of fallen soldiers. The Shelburne Veterans’ Memorial is complete, and a dedication is scheduled for 1pm on Sept. 13.
Ashley Prout McAvey of Shelburne said the memorial was clearly designed and built with great thought and care. “I am so pleased that our town now has this memorial, so we can properly give thanks to all of our veterans for their profound sacrifices through the decades,” she said. “What an important gift to share with our town’s children, as well, so that we may never take our freedom for granted.”
A $5,000 grant was received from the Veterans Fund of the Veterans Affairs office for the $121,500 project. It was designed by landscape architects at T.J. Boyle Associates of Burlington. Church Hill Landscapes of Charlotte build it and will continue to maintain it.
Several companies gave in-kind donations, Town Clerk Colleen Haag said. The Granite Corporation donated bronze medallions of the different services. “Along with extremely generous donations from residents and businesses, the town of Shelburne offered generous support with helping out with the cost of the infrastructure, and construction of the sidewalk, as well as the services of Paul Goodrich and the Highway Department,” Haag said.
The granite was cut, engraved and transported by the Granite Corporation of Barre. Bricks are from Trowel Trades of Colchester. Their engraving is done by Atkins Lettering of Colchester. SD Ireland provided the material for the sidewalks. Stove and Flag Works provided the flag pole and Lowes the fencing.
Shelburne resident Rick Bessette wrote the poem engraved in stone upon entering the memorial. It reads, “Be still O hearts that visit here. On these our soldiers, we reflect. Remember them, their sacrifice. Come with gratitude and respect.”
Shelburne Veteran’s Memorial Committee member Pete Gadue urges all visitors to contemplate the significance of that poem, and to have respect for the memorial. “We are asking visitors to be respectful and refrain from bringing any food or drink into the area,” he said. “It could stain the granite.”
Local veterans Jim Donaldson and Arland Dunbar hand-set all of the bricks, and are in charge of the orders for engraving. So far, 264 bricks have been engraved. They have 99 more to go with orders still coming in. Families pay $100 per brick. The total number of engravable bricks is 1,100, Donaldson said.
Dunbar served in the air force in the 1960s. He’s proud of his work on the memorial, he said.
Donaldson served in the army in the 1950s. He was drafted out of college, he said. “Being on this committee is one of the more worthwhile things I have done in my life,” he said. “Sometimes we forget. This provides and visual reminder that peace is not free.”
Gail Feitelberg of Shelburne said the memorial is a learning tool. “It’s a way to reconnect with history,” she said. “One of the things that makes Shelburne so special is it takes its history so seriously. There is no monetary tag that you can put on this. This has become a catalyst for conversation.”
The Shelburne Veteran’s Memorial Committee is half-way to raising the $15,000 needed for a memorial maintenance fund, and a new committee is being established to oversee that ongoing work.
Contact Lynn Monty at 985-3091 or Lynn@WindRidgePublishing.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VermontSongbird.