BROOKLIN, Maine — After several years of planning, residents will dedicate the town’s new veterans’ memorial on the Fourth of July at the town office.
The short dedication ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. Monday, just before the start of the annual Fourth of July parade.
Although there has been discussion of erecting a memorial for a number of years, this effort began two years ago, according to Richard Freethey, a member of the committee that spearheaded the memorial project. Voters at town meeting approved the idea and agreed to provide funds for the project. Private donations also were added to the town funds.
“It’s something that’s been talked about for a long time,” Freethey said. “Most every town has one; some even started putting them up after the Civil War. But there was nothing here. It seemed like the time was ripe. It really seems like it’s very much overdue.”
The memorial is a simple block, fashioned from Maine granite at Freshwater Stone in Orland, with a donated bronze plaque. Although the committee at first considered including a list of all veterans who had served, they opted to make the inscription a general memorial to all who had served, are serving and will serve their country.
The plaque reads simply: “This memorial is dedicated to all the members of the armed services from the town of Brooklin. Past, present and future.”
A U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam era, Freethey said the memorial has a personal significance for him. His older brother, Buddy, served in the U.S. Navy at the same time, including a tour in Vietnam.
“He came back, but he never got over it,” Freethey said of his brother, who passed away several years ago. “I kind of feel like this is for my brother.”
During the dedication, the town will raise the POW-MIA flag and the state of Maine flag on either side of the American flag, which will fly on the center flagpole. The ceremony also will recognize, by name, the surviving veterans in town from World War II and the Korean War.
“They’re the senior citizens in town now,” Freethey said. “We felt they deserved the individual recognition.”
Although the granite memorial and the flagpoles are in place and grading of the area was being done this week, Freethey said the project is still a work in progress. Landscaping will be done after the dedication and the committee plans to add lighting, a brick walk and granite benches to the site.
The town is working on a landscaping and safety project, which includes improving the area between the elementary school and the post office. Plans include a walk that will pass by the memorial.
“I certainly can see this [memorial] being a centerpiece of that,” he said.