MILO, Maine — A project begun 4½ years ago to honor all the nation’s veterans will just about reach its fruition with a formal dedication on June 30, one of the project’s founders said Sunday.
The project, designed and paid for by town resident Ron Knowles and several friends who have done fundraisers, sits between the World War I monument and the World War II and Korean and Vietnam War monuments at the town cemetery.
“It is absolutely a thing of beauty,” Knowles said Sunday of the monument. “It came about because I thought that all veterans should be recognized, so I decided that I would do something to recognize all veterans.”
The monument consists of five separate granite monuments, one for each military branch, on a 12-inch-thick granite base. Each monument will have the branch insignias, the year each branch was established, and stanzas from their associated anthems.
Those monuments will encircle a monument for the killed, missing in action and prisoners of war. Two walkways consisting of 265 granite pavers, or walking stones, connects the new monuments to the two existing monuments at the cemetery.
Six flags representing all the U.S. military branches, including the U.S. Merchant Marine, line the walkways, and it also includes a flag dedicated to POWs and MIAs and the state flag, Knowles said.
It isn’t built yet, but the project also will include a monument featuring two soldiers kneeling in prayer, whose profiles will be seen coming and going from the cemetery. About $1,800 of the $2,400 needed for the sculpture has been raised, Knowles said.
Anyone interested in donating to the monument effort can write checks to “Veterans Memorial Project,” care of Camden National Bank, 53 West Main St., Milo, 04463.
Knowles is assembling the lineup and list of guests for the dedication ceremony, he said. He hopes to find a military band and color guard for the ceremony and marching units for a parade that will be part of the celebrations, he said.
Any organizations of veterans or present military units seeking to participate can call Knowles at 279-9700, he said. He hopes many units, and residents, will opt to attend.
“We wouldn’t even be here today if not for the veterans of this country and there are too many people out there who tend to not acknowledge the veterans that have served and continue to serve in peace or in wartime,” he said. “We would not be free. We are lucky we don’t have what’s going on in other parts of the world happening here.”