Mantua – Memorial Day is the time set aside to remember the men and women who died while serving in U.S Armed Forces. And from that day forward, local veterans Roy Mayfield, Jessie Crate, Jim Aldrich, Bud Foster, and a host of others will finally have a local place to honor and remember those they served with who have passed on, and those who did not make it home.
While the need and desire for a local monument honoring those who have served has never been in question, the location has been a topic of discussion since it was first suggested in 2001. Various sites were considered before the current site was selected twelve years later. And thanks to private donations of time, supplies and money, the Veteran’s Memorial is now complete. The Memorial is situated on the green in the Mantua Historic District, a location that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.
According to Army veteran Bud Foster, who designed the Memorial, it’s been a dream he’s held to tightly over the past nine years. Before her passing, his wife, Rose, told him, “Don’t give up on the battle.” Perhaps that’s just one more reason Foster visits the Memorial, situated near his home, every night. “We wanted to place the Memorial where people would see it all the time,” Foster concluded. Steve Zielinski, who served in the Navy, shared his desire to honor those friends and family members who served in the Armed Forces. Having a memorial here, he states, “is a good thing.”
Eileen Kinter, member of the Ladies Auxiliary, commented, “When we see the memorial, it helps to remind us of all those brave men and women who served, but are no longer with us. It’s great to have something here in Mantua.” Kathleen Miller’s late husband Earl served in WWII as part of the 77th Infantry Mr. Miller was part of the initial committee planning to create a memorial in Mantua. She acknowledged, “Any time you can recognize veterans and their service is a beautiful time.” Miller currently serves as Chaplain of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 193.
“With over a thousand veterans from our small area, spanning from the Revolutionary war to today, it’s great to have a place for families to pay their respects,” shared Tim Benner. Benner’s father served in the Korean War, earning a purple heart. When Benner took his mother to the Memorial recently, he recalls, it brought tears to her eyes. “It’s beautiful,” she said.
The Veteran’s Memorial will be dedicated on Monday, May 26, 2014 12:00 p.m., immediately following the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at West Lawn Cemetery. Guest Speakers include Bud Foster and Scott Hamilton, the father of Adam Hamilton, a local soldier who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan. Father Michael Garvey of Saint Joseph’s Parish will conduct the invocation and benediction. Garvey is also a veteran. Kathleen Miller will sing the National Anthem, and American Legion Post 193 will facilitate a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps. After the dedication, the Town Hall and Historical Society Museum will be open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend.