Where Angels Fear To Tread

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?


35 Responses to “Where Angels Fear To Tread”

  1. Kathleen Kildebeck

    Not only does a country need one language but it also needs its symbols like Old Glory and, yes, monuments. These symbols we true Americans hold near and dear to our hearts are also targeted for destruction by Liberals who wish to eradicate most symbols or sentiment (In God We Trust).

    Monuments should be maintained, preserved and respected. Some will say it’s only a hunk of bronze…well, the American flag is a piece of cloth but what it symbolizes is precious. Thank you for safeguarding a tribute in bronze.

  2. supervisor

    Kathleen, thank you for your comment. But, the monument is not bronze. It is granite (I think) and measures about 11’L x 10″W x 6’H and weighs 5.5 tons. Dana

  3. E Farleigh

    What a sad day we live in that school children cannot be taught respect for a monument which represents their freedom and the veterans who have served and died for that freedom. Yes, the monument should be moved to the center of town as it represents Hartford, her people and many sacrifices…..so it can be where all can pass by and reflect. History must be preserved and cherished. Perhaps the error was in not placing it there to begin with.
    Thank you for preserving the memories of many including my father Ted Smith who passed from this earth 3 years ago. He would be very pleased with this decision.

  4. supervisor

    E, Thank you for your reply and support. But, the relocation of the monument is only my intention. Yes I have done the legwork and homework, but on the Town Board I am only 1 vote out of 5. A majority vote is needed to carry the day.

    The Baptist Church Board of Trustees will need to go along also since the location would be up against the fence to the Old Hartford Cemetery. Pastor Mike Richards told me he will have a special meeting of th eBoard to discuss this. I am confident that they will go along since this is the same location as where the old plywood monument “WWII Honor Roll” was located. There is a precedence for this location and it is very close to the Civil War Monument inside the burial ground. Dana

  5. Pete Klaiber

    I am writing to give my full support as a Hartfordite and a veteran, to this very worthwhile project. I do remember the “wrangling” that went on prior to the monument being constructed, much of it in the press. I’m confident everyone involved with this project had their hearts in the right place, wanting to honor our “Hartford” veterans. As you point out, that is in the past, lets all move forward. The location being between two churches, across from the Enlistment Center / Museum, and adjacent to the Civil War “mound” in the “Old Cemetery”, in my mind is ideal. As I’m sure you are aware, our Yoked Parish Congregation (Baptist & Congregational) voted on this proposition this past Sunday 7/11. Only positive comments were heard, passed unanimously. Veterans Day is a great target for completion. I would be more than happy to volunteer my help for whatever is needed.


  6. supervisor


    Thank you for your comment.

    In researching this project I have come across a lot of interesting info. Of the $23,000 +/- raised for this, the lion share (about 70%) came from the Willard/Doris Aubrey family.

    There is an existing corporation called “The Hartford Area Veterans Memorial Delegation, Inc”. Without further evidence, it appears this corporation has claim to ownership of the monument. I believe Doris is a shareholder in this corporation, she may even be the only shareholder. It remains to be determined who else is in this corporation.

    I have been told by an attorney I respect that is familiar with the case that it would be far easier for the Corporation to claim it owns it than for me to claim they do not.

    Even though the monument is placed at the school, ownership never transfered to the school. So…. until I find out more info about the shareholders of this corporation and how they feel about moving it, it seems that the monument will remain in place for now.

    Until more info is gathered, I felt it premature to ask the Town Board last night to commit to the project of relocating the monument.


  7. Pete Klaiber

    Understand…Here is hoping the full board approves once ownership established, all agree, the dust settles…Thanks for your efforts.

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