This past Memorial Day was one of the first Hartford Memorial Day Parades that I did not see in a long time. That was because I was at the head of the parade and was unable to watch the passing floats and participants.
After the parade, quite a few Veterans came up to me to tell me that they did not approve of the school location for the Veterans’ Monument. This monument, which lists Hartford citizens from WWII to the Persian Gulf was erected at the school in 2005. It is located next to the High School building near the School Bus circle. I have seen kids climb on it like a jungle gym and it should be in a location more fitting for the honor and respect the Veterans deserve.
I started to inquire about the monument and heard many stories about all the controversy around the creation and installation of the monument. I kept hearing the same question “Oh boy! Are you crazy? Do you know what you are getting in for?” I have been told that names that should be on it were not included and names that should not be on it are, etc, etc, etc… But, despite all these questions about my sanity, many Veterans would give me words of encouragement and said that what I proposed to do was the right thing and they were supportive of it.
I do not want to relive all of the old battles, insults and injuries from the heyday surrounding the Monument’s creation and installation, my focus is simply on relocating the monument. All these arguments, though valid only detract from my mission to relocate the monument. The fact of the matter is that the monument is in the here and now. It exists and we should not ignore it because there may have been some flaws in its creation and installation. Let us honor the names on the stone and not be hell bent on throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
On the back of the monument is a listing of the original citizens committee. I called these members to gauge their opinion on relocating the monument. Two are deceased but 4 out of 5 of the remaining members approved of my plan to relocate the monument.
Last night I went before the Hartford Board of Education and requested that the Town be allowed to take possession of the monument for the purpose of relocating it to a more appropriate location.
I proposed to move it up to the center of town on Main Street across the street from the Civil War Enlistment Center. This location would be up against the fence of the Old Hartford Cemetary and very near the Civil War Memorial Mound of Dirt, and just up the street from the WWI Veterans’ Monument where the Memorial Day Parade speeches are made. All of these various Veterans’ monuments will now be in the same general location.
The Hartford Board of Education unanimously approved of turning possession over to the town.
Bob & Barb Liebig of Utopia Enterprises have offered the use of their crane truck and Glen Churchill, who works with monuments has the needed straps and know-how to help move it. The Liebigs said they would help move the monument even if we had to do it at midnight wearing ski masks. I told them I would settle for the crane usage and help with the concrete works needed to make a new foundation.
I think with the help of volunteers that the monument could be moved at very little cost. The school only requests that we jackhammer to top of the old concrete foundation about 8″ below the soil line so that some dirt and grass seed could be put down to make the whole area lawn again.
Many years ago the Hartford WWII Honor Roll monument was erected up against the fence of the Old Hartford Cemetary, so there is a precedence for using this location. That monument was a sheet of plywood but could not remain there permanently there due to the weather. This Honor Roll is in the Town Hall vestibule and can still be seen today.
The Hartford Town Board will need to approve of this plan and I plan to bring it up at the July 13th Town Board Meeting.
My goal would be to have the Monument in place so that it can be rededicated on Veterans’ Day.
So, what do you think of my plan?