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War Memorial Design Approved

Veterans Committee votes unanimously to endorse new design and to use half of Car Barn Lot.

voted unanimously Thursday to support the design for the monument and agreed to allow the town to use only the front half of the old car barn lot.

Under the approved design, the monument will be almost 18 feet tall with a base that is five feet, three inches wide. At the top, an , will appear to be landing on the North American continent of the globe, as a symbol of the servicemen returning home from war. The globe would be made of solid granite with the continents made of bronze.

There will be four plaques on the monument, each 33 inches by 37 inches. The plaques would include the names of all Wenham veterans who served in World War I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The area around the monument will include a flag pole and a circular low hedge. There will be three paths from the streets to the monument.

The Town Building Committee will meet at 5 p.m. today to ratify the design and the use of the rear half of the lot. Committee chairman John Darling would not predict how his committee would vote, but it is expected the building committee will concur with the memorial committee's action.

Before the vote on the design, committee member Jack Hauck said, “I think it looks great.”

For the near future, the proposed use of the rear of the lot will be to have it landscaped with grass and trees. Any future use would have to be approved by the Selectmen and Town Meeting and other town boards.

The monument and the landscaping will be paid for with private fundraising.

Bruce Blanchard, a former member of the committee, said he thought the new design is a “good compromise.”

Initially the War Memorial Committee, made up of veterans, The Town's Building Committee and the Historic District Commission

Ultimately the groups compromised. The veterans kept their eagle and globe in the design. The building committee prevailed on the more vertical design.

The Board of Selectmen must also approve the design, probably at its meeting next week. And the

Finally the Historic Commission must approve the design. There has been strong opposition on the historical commission to the eagle landing on the globe. Some said it looked like the eagle, a symbol for the U.S., was dominating the world.

The war memorial committee members insisted that the eagle be depicted as landing on North America as if they are “coming home.”

Hauck and other committee members were more concerned about what use the town might make of the rear portion of the lot in the future.

“This is hallowed ground,” he said. “To leave it open is dangerous.”

If there is any use of the rear portion of the lot, the speculation was that it might be used for parking.

Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren said downtown parking is no longer “the hot button it was.” He doubted there would be any effort to turn the rear portion of the lot into a parking lot.

Left undecided was how to designate several parking spaces for handicapped visitors to the memorial.

Over the next year, the committee will publish a list of names of the veterans whose name will be on the monument. The public will have about a year to propose additional names for the monument.

Because the plaques will be in bronze, they cannot be changed once the names are inscribed.

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