Wenham holds a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate a new veterans memorial at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 12, at the “Car Barn Lot” in government center (across from Town Hall) 138 Main Street, Wenham Massachusetts.
As announced in a press release, this much anticipated event is being sponsored by the War Veterans Memorial Committee. The groundbreaking ceremony will be attended by State Senator Bruce Tarr, State Representative Brad Hill, and Wenham Board of Selectmen, the Wenham town administrator, and a myriad of donors, supporters and various contributing town officials.
Bruce D. Blanchard, co-chair of the War Veterans Memorial Committee stated: “I am delighted to have this groundbreaking that commemorates our veterans over five eras in our nation’s history. It has been a long time in coming! I commend each and every member of the Committee that have contributed to this important veteran’s memorial and the hundreds of citizens who contributed financially.”
In 2013, the Wenham War Memorial Committee made great strides in finalizing plans for the veterans memorial, developing and refining details for bid specifications, continuing to fundraise and providing leadership for the entire project. Bids have been received, the contracts have been awarded and construction will begin shortly. The veterans memorial total project cost is estimated at $219,000, with the bulk of the work being completed in Phase I. That will cost approximately $189,000. Phase II is estimated at $30,000.
Additionally, said the release, the committee worked to ensure that all of our veterans were included based upon specific criteria. There are two criteria to determine eligibility for inclusion: 1. Honorable service during the periods of war, including World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and 2. Veterans who lived in Wenham at the time they entered service. Provisions for future conflicts are also included.
Peter A. Hersee, co-Chairman added: “The Wenham War Memorial Committee has endeavored to take painstaking steps to ensure that our veterans are memorialized in an honorable manner. This will be one of the finest veteran’s memorials in the region."
In 2013 and 2014, the Wenham War Memorial Committee applied for and received State grants totaling $15,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. These funds along with private fundraising helped the to solidify Phase I of the Wenham veterans memorial.
Under this state program, municipalities and non-profit organizations may apply for matching funds for the renovation, rehabilitation, preservation, or enhancement of objects including existing markers, memorials, monuments, and plaques significant to the commemoration of our veterans or military history.
Jack Wilhelm, Chairman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen noted: “This is a proud moment for the Wenham War Memorial Committee and the entire Town of Wenham. I look forward to the completion of this important project”.
"Wenham's veterans deserve a special place of honor in a dignified setting that is visible and accessible so that we can often be reminded that they have secured the blessings of liberty and freedom for our nation," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). "This memorial provides that place, and the Town of Wenham and the Wenham Memorial War Committee deserve our gratitude for their perseverance and partnership in creating a first-class memorial and a fitting tribute to those who have served in our armed forces."
Brad Hill, State Representative stated: ”I was pleased to work with Senator Tarr, the Wenham War Memorial Committee, Town Administration and Town Officials on moving this key project forward. This initiative exemplifies a Team approach to bringing new and innovative ways to complete this veterans memorial in an effective manner."
Light refreshments follow the ground breaking ceremony. Neighbors and the general public are invited to attend.