THE CAMPAIGN TO BUILD
THE VETERANS PLAZA
THE CASE FOR SUPPORT
The Veterans Plaza
Approaches honoring our nation’s veterans vary considerably. Many memorials focus on specific battles. They honor veterans by their race, their gender, while others focus on specific military branches, still others emphasize honoring those who sacrificed their lives, or are disabled, or are MIA/POWs.
However, there are few that honor ALL veterans, of ALL military branches including the Merchant Marine, all of whom served in a huge variety of capacities that contributed to preserving the freedoms all of us enjoy, and even take for granted. This Plaza will provide a major expansion of the efforts to include and honor these many overlooked veterans. This effort is long overdue.
The Veterans Plaza will be built in the very center of the downtown of Brunswick, Maine. The project’s organizers, with the help of the town government, have already achieved several major milestones: 1.) Richardson and Associates (the architects of Brunswick’s statue and memorial to Civil War General Joshua Chamberlain) prepared a conceptual design (see above), 2.) The project received the full endorsement of the Brunswick Town Council, the Downtown Master Plan Implementation Committee, both of our U.S. Senators, and the Brunswick Village Review Board who approved the final design and location of the Plaza which represents a major improvement of the current ground that includes only a lone unknown, under-appreciated WWII veteran monument. Given the military history of the midcoast, we must do better.
For the past year American Legion George T. Files Post 20 and key area volunteers have been conducting a campaign to raise the estimated $500,000 needed to build, properly dedicate, maintain the Plaza.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony is set for Monday, August 17, 2020, with the Dedication set for Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.
Fewer and fewer people have any first-hand connection, or recollection of many of the past conflicts/wars in which our country has been involved, not to mention the many who served in these engagements. To remedy this, the Veterans Plaza will:
- Feature the caption that will read “In the Heart of our Downtown in our Most Valued Public Space.”
- Identify through a continuum of twelve unique granite sentinel posts each representing a major conflict or war in which the United States has been involved as defined by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Place atop each sentinel post a specific U.S. Medallion associated with each conflict/war noting the dates associated with each engagement.
- Acknowledge that all veterans beyond those who served in the twelve major conflicts/wars made took the same oath of allegiance to defend their country, and were often called upon to engage in smaller conflicts.
- Honor the names of particular veterans who served displayed on a series of 445 granite Honor Blocks radiating out from the center of the Plaza with the graphic of an American Eagle over an image of the stars and stripes. All of the honor blocks have been sponsored by friends and family members of veterans. Each will have an engraved name of a veteran, chosen by the donor, along with the service branch, and noting a specific conflict, or the years of service as a permanent tribute to that soldier or sailor.
- Pay particular respect to those who earned the Purple Heart Medal for death or wounds received in action against an enemy or as a direct result of an act of the enemy.
- Fly the flags honoring the POW/MIA, State of Maine, and United States atop three prominently located poles.
- Ground level lighting will extend into the evening hours the opportunity for the public to experience the Plaza.
American Legion Post 20 is serving as the fiscal agent for the project as it fits well within the mission of the American Legion. A special Veterans Plaza account is at Bath Savings Institution in Bath, Maine to be sure all funds are separate.
Background of the Project
Nearly 11 years ago, the late Korean War Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, Gilbert (Gil) Ormsby, had a dream to see a Purple Heart Monument area that would be readily accessible to the public without cost or inconvenience.
The idea remained just an idea until Memorial Day, 2016.
Gil and the late William “Chick” Ciciotte, then both active members of the American Legion, approached David Watson, Vice Commander of George T. Files Brunswick American Legion Post 20, and a Town Councilor. All three felt strongly it was long overdue to make this vision a reality.
Post 20 immediately embraced the value of this project and expanded on it from a Purple Heart monument to creating a special area public space on the downtown Mall that would honor all the sacrifices made by all veterans of all military branches including those who served as merchant marines.
Telling the Story of the Selfless
Sacrifices in Service to Our Country
The Veterans Plaza will give context to the continuing dedication to the protection of our principles and values of equality and justice since the Revolutionary era.
It will serve as a place of remembrance where citizens of all ages can gather to consider and reflect upon the sacrifices made by so many in the preservation of our freedoms.
It will tell a story of the personal commitments and sacrifices made by our brave men and women in defense of our country.
There will be 12 featured medallion posts, each representing a major conflict in which our country has been involve since our founding and will act as an educational tool to remind young and old of the sacrifices people have made. For many we hope it will pique their interest in learning more about these engagements, particularly those reaching deeper in our history, before the 20th century.
To veterans and non-veterans alike, the Plaza is meant to convey the characteristics of those who have served which include integrity, courage, respect, loyalty, valor, duty, honor, selfless service and pride.
Most importantly, to veterans, and merchant mariners, the Plaza will evoke a strong sense of pride in the service each gave when called upon to do so.