Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Answers About The Veterans Monument

Below is a comment left on an earlier posting about the Veterans Monument that once stood in front of the Town Hall.  After the comment, there is a reply written by Tom Chamberland.  Thank you to anonymous for expressing your concern for the monument, and to Tom, for taking the time to respond.--ed.

Mr. Chamberland,
Thank you for your continued hard work. While you are here, though, could you just take 2 minutes to jot a sentence down, if you know where our stone monument for the Veterans of WWII, and the Vietnam and Korean conflicts ended up? Can the stones be reused to rebuild it?
We have people here who are hurting from this loss, too. Yesterday we picked up the Town Common Newspaper and saw the huge picture of the "Sturbridge Colonial Militia" on the front page. The headline was "Sturbridge Honors its Real Heroes." One would think that a headline like that would have been over a picture of the parade stopping by our stone monument at the town hall which contained so many names familiar and dear to us.
In speaking with local heroes we know and love, living heroes from the wars from the 1940's to the present, I can tell you they are hurt. Please, just a sentence or two, to let them and their friends and families know why the monument disappeared, and what can be done to bring it back. Thank you. 
To Anonymous:
First, let me say I do not routine reply to anonymous requests, however, compassion is a true human virtue I try to practice, and given the tone of your concern let me briefly, as you requested, try to provide a reply.  The stones from the monument are long gone.  The plaques themselves were completely restored and refinished and now hang in places of honor alongside those of all our past veterans, in the Veterans Memorial Hall, except for those of our true patriots and minute men, an oversight that was just funded at this past annual town meeting to correct.
  As for the removal of the monument that action was from the very early stages of discussion as I was involved, always a part of the “plan” and at every meeting that was held on these plans this was available for residents to take note of, be it at Bd of Selectmen’s meetings, the Planning Boards site plan meetings and the TOWN MEETING (my emphasis) where all voted to approve the project.  In addition as these plans were vetted and reviewed the only veteran’s organization, American Legion Post 109, whose members were the main sponsor and builders of this monument were personally contacted by me at several of their regular meetings to discuss the removal, which was approved by them, the very veterans who worked for funding and built the monument.
As for Sturbridge honoring its real hero’s, let me say that Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have died, and not the living, In addition, attendance at our Memorial Day ceremonies has grown, and for safety of all, moving the concluding ceremony to the Town Common has been widely supported by many, including the Police Dept., in their concern for traffic and safety as well as the Veterans who make the commitment to participate in the parade.
As you may know me, I was very involved and actually administered the construction of this monument, I worked side by side with my father, family and fellow veterans building this monument, It was a tough decision to make, however in setting my personal emotions aside, I realized that for the longer term, and for the honor of those names inscribed on these plaques, our true place of honor and protection is where they hang today, alongside the plaques of my fellow Veterans of Sturbridge.

Tom Chamberland