BUCKSPORT, Maine — A crew from Freshwater Stone delivered three large granite stones to the Bucksport Area Veterans Memorial Park at Peary’s Landing on Thursday, moving the monument project one step closer to completion.
Members of American Legion Post 93 in Bucksport have been working for several years to design and create a monument to those who have served in the armed forces. The flagpoles, bearing the flags of the five branches of the armed forces and the U.S. Merchant Marines, were set on Memorial Day earlier this year.
“We’ve been working on this a little at a time, doing things when we had the money,” said Post Commander Richard Bowden.
The stones — each 9 feet tall, 3 feet 8 inches wide, a foot thick and weighing about 7,000 pounds — will be the main focal point of the monument. Each granite block will bear the insignia of one of the branches of the service.
The idea for the monument grew out of discussions at the post, Bowden said.
“We have a monument by the library, but it’s so small no one ever sees it,” he said. “We thought the town should have something that would honor veterans the way they should be.”
The town of Bucksport contributed initial funding to get the project off the ground and also hired an architect to work with a monument committee to design the memorial. Wardwell Construction, a division of Lane Construction, donated much of the groundwork and the cement work that forms the base of the monument.
Committee members and post members have worked to raise the $128,000 needed for the project. Although the initial planning has been going on for several years, Bowden said the committee has made a concerted effort on the project during the past year.
The delivery of the stones was a big moment in the development of the veterans monument, and several post members showed up to watch them being unloaded.
“I’m starting to get excited now,” said Air Force veteran Larry Bridgham of Bucksport. “After all the work we’ve done — everybody worked hard on this — it’s good to see it coming together like this. This is a great project.”
Although the setting of the granite stones is a major step toward completing the project, Bowden said the group still has a way to go. They still need to raise $35,000 to finish the work, including $25,000 to purchase black granite pavers to create the Field of Honor. The Field of Honor will be a large V on the ground created by the pavers, which will bear the names of those who have died in action.
“These are veterans from Bucksport, Orland and Verona,” Bowden said. “There are 103 veterans who died in action, going back to the Revolution.”
The committee has no sponsors yet for those pavers, although two family members have purchased black granite stones in honor of family members. Bowden said the committee hopes to attract premier sponsors who will donate $5,000 each toward the project.
Outside of the Field of Honor will be other granite pavers bearing the names of veterans from the three towns. So far, 120 of those stones have been purchased.
The granite stones are scheduled to be set in place in the monument on Friday. Three feet of the 9-foot stones will be set in the ground. Once they are in place, Bowden said, they will be engraved with letters running across all six of the stones. The inscription will say: “To honor all who served to protect our freedom; may they never be forgotten.”
Work also will include groundwork, illumination and the installation of stone benches at the monument site.
Once the stones are in place and engraved, they will be formally unveiled during a Veterans Day ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday.