CT State Veterans Memorial Ground-Breaking
Construction of the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial (CSVM) kicked off today with an official groundbreaking ceremony in Hartford’s Minuteman Park, across from the William A. O’Neill State Armory and the Legislative Office Building on Capitol Ave. and Broad St. This will be the first State memorial to honor Connecticut men and women who have served in America’s military since Revolutionary War times.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda S. Schwartz, Major General Thaddeus J. Martin, Connecticut Adjutant General of Connecticut National Guard, other state and federal officials, and veterans, participated in the ceremony for the memorial that will honor the more than 1.3 million Connecticut citizens who have served our nation, in defense of peace and freedom. The memorial will recognize past, present, and future Connecticut veterans and will be a site for official observances, activities, and ceremonies that honor veterans.
“I applaud the partners and board of the Connecticut State Veterans Memorial for their efforts to see this important project through,” said Governor Malloy. “Since the Revolutionary War, Connecticut’s armed forces have served the state and the nation with courage and bravery. Having a community gathering place to honor them reflects our deep respect for their commitment and sacrifices.”
“There is great significance in the placement of this Memorial, on land between the Armory and the Legislative Office Building,” explained Commissioner Schwartz. “Here in front of the Armory – where generations of Connecticut men and women have gone off to fight and returned from war – and the Halls of our Legislature – where our treasured freedoms are exercised every day. The Connecticut State Veterans Memorial will be a reminder that veterans past, present and future have sacrificed to win and sustain the freedoms we all enjoy and to secure peace throughout the world.”
The memorial’s architectural designs by BL Companies of Meriden, Conn., were announced at the event, as were plans to complete the project by the end of 2013. The Connecticut State Veterans Memorial will feature a granite colonnade structure consisting of five columns representing each branch of military service as the memorial’s main focal point. A semi-circular granite Honor wall with “HONORING THOSE WHO SERVED” engraving will act as the memorial’s framing element. The memorial will highlight various conflicts with engraved granite makers throughout the plaza. Included will be granite pavers, benches, specialty lighting, and landscaping.
The Connecticut State Veterans Memorial, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, with a solely volunteer Board of Directors, has been overseeing the development of the memorial. The CSVM has been working with engineers in the Connecticut General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Management and the architects from BL Companies.
Five U.S. veterans dug the first ceremonial shovelfuls of soil to break ground for the memorial, each representing one of the five branches of the U.S. Military:
· ARMY – Staff Sergeant (Ret) DOLORES NIEVES of Avon, representing “The BORINQUENEERS,” the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico that was established and served during the Korean War;
· NAVY – Captain BRIAN KUERBITZ of Lebanon honored with a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan;
· AIR FORCE – Airman 1st Class CORNELIUS GREENWAY of Middletown, Vietnam-era including service in North Africa/Libya;
· MARINES –Corporal GEORGE CARON of New Britain, 25th Regimental Combat Team, Anti-tank 4th Marine Division, served in Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima; and
· COAST GUARD – Captain ANDREA MARCILLE of New London, a 1989 graduate of the U.S.Coast Guard Academy and current Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Leadership Development Center.
The colors were presented by members of the Connecticut National Guard in a procession with the Antique Veterans, World Post #1, of Meriden, Conn. Also participating at the event were: Father Michael Galasso, Chaplain of the Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs; Chaplain (Major) David C. Nutt of the Connecticut Army National Guard; and Lynn Malerba, Tribal Chief of the Mohegan Nation, who presided over a ceremonial blessing of the ground.
The nonprofit Connecticut State Veterans Memorial, Inc.’s officers are President Linda S. Schwartz, Vice President John Droney, Secretary Robert Janicki, and Treasurer Lenell Kittlitz. The organization’s Board members are Paul W. Bucha, Ron Catania, Mary M. Donahue, Cornelius Greenway, the late Elwood A.D. “Woody” Lechausse, Gen. Thaddeus Martin, Lesbia Nieves, Paul Pendergast, Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Commissioner Joseph Perkins, James Shelmerdine, Laura Soll, and A. Edward Wright.
To view the architectural design of the future Connecticut State Veterans Memorial, and get information about how to make a donation to help build the memorial, visit www.cthonorsvets.org or call 860-616-3603.