Salisbury to unveil new soldiers memorial at veterans’ park
SALISBURY — Salisbury residents will have an extra reason to honor their local veterans this Memorial Day thanks to a successful effort by the local historical society to install a monument on town-owned land off of Maple Street.
The society, led by Barry Whitney Jr., spent the last seven years raising money to create the first designated veterans’ park for honoring all local servicemen and women who’ve served during every major conflict dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Whitney, whose family roots in Salisbury go back more than 200 years, explained that the town’s tributes have consisted of an obelisk across from Maple Meadow Farm honoring local Civil War veterans, and a stone tablet located near Lake Dunmore off Maple Street that pays tribute to Salisbury’s World War I soldiers.
It just made sense, Whitney said, to centralize those two monuments while expanding recognition to locals who served during other conflicts, including 19th-century conflicts, as well as World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the wars in the Middle East. The Salisbury selectboard agreed to allot around an acre of town-owned land for the new memorial park, located opposite Maple Meadow Farm. It is land bordered by a brook that used to host the town’s sand and salt shed.
“It’s going to offer some quiet recognition,” Whitney said of the monument, which includes a flagpole flanked on each side by walls that will be adorned with sheets of coated aluminum bearing the names of all known war-era, Salisbury-based veterans, including the 32 who have died in service. Perhaps the best-known name on the monument will be that of Civil War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Lester Hack.
The veterans’ names will be sorted onto eight separate wall panels, depending on the war during which he or she served. It doesn’t matter if the service man or woman didn’t see action, said Whitney, who’s spent hundreds of hours poring over state and federal veterans’ records to trace the names of the Salisbury honorees.
“There was a lot of double checking and triple checking,” Whitney said of the arduous process. Any mistakes in spelling or name additions can easily be made to the monument panels, he said.
Those featured had to have enlisted from Salisbury. There are, of course, other Salisbury natives who enlisted in other towns and states, and Whitney would like to see those folks eventually recognized as well.
Fundraising efforts during the past seven years finally netted the approximately $6,000 needed for materials to complete the veterans’ park this year. Whitney gave special thanks to Salisbury-based Ploof Excavating for performing the site work free of charge. In the near future, Whitney would like to give donors the opportunity to sponsor some benches and other amenities for the park.
Whitney and his Salisbury Historical Society colleagues will lead a dedication of the new veterans’ park this Sunday, May 26, at 2 p.m. The program will include such speakers as former Gov. Jim Douglas of Middlebury, Pastor John Grivetti from the Salisbury Congregational Church, and re-enactors representing several different wars. Organizers are also involving the local school and have invited many of the town’s veterans, some of whom will unveil the wall panels representing the wars in which they fought.
“It’s going to be a big event,” Whitney said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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