The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 29, 2008

Honor Roll project considers two memorial plazas on Town Green

On August 21 the Veterans’ Honor Roll Committee met to brainstorm potential site locations for the new memorial on the Common. Chair Doug Stevenson said, “My personal vision is that we come up with something permanent, a little bit more appropriate, and with much more of a sense of space than we have already – something that people could actually go visit and contemplate in a much easier manner than the current Honor Rolls we have there now. I don’t think I or the committee is looking for some grand obelisk but we want something a little bit more than we have now, not going to rot and the paint peel off in five or 15 years.”

Veterans’ names are read by the Honor Roll on the Town Green during Memorial Day observances in 2006. The wooden structures have deteriorated and are to be replaced as part of the war memorial renovation project. (File photo by Mike Quayle)

The Spring 2008 Town Meeting allocated $98,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for this project, $15,000 of which will be paid to Levi-Wong Design Associates Inc. for architectural master planning and landscape design. At this second meeting with the committee, Thomas Levi and William Wong presented conceptual drawings and discussed removing trees, leveling the hill and building multiple memorial plazas to foster “town connectivity.” The committee considered placements of multiple, linked memorials including a “fore plaza” where the honor roll currently stands, a “main plaza” around the flagpole in front of the First Religious Society church, and one or two paths across the Green.

The board discussed how the relatively small size and triangular shape of Carlisle’s Common makes placing a series of linked memorials difficult. Wong said Feng Shui chi flows toward the corner of the Green where the honor roll currently stands. The committee reached a consensus to connect the flag and existing memorial but not build a linked system of memorials all around the perimeter of the Green, or build a third plaza on the southwest corner.

The present Honor Roll Memorial (see right) commemorates veterans of World War I and later conflicts. The Revolutionary War memorial to the left of the First Religious Society consists of a boulder bearing a plaque listing the 16 Carlisle residents who marched to the Old North Bridge in Concord on April 19, 1775. The “Goddess of Liberty” statue in the rotary honors Carlisle’s Civil War veterans, 13 of whom died during the war. In 1939 the flagpole on the Common was dedicated to veterans of all wars.

According to Stevenson, the vision for the Honor Roll memorial approved at Town Meeting looks like “stone retaining walls, granite benches, and some type of stone monument or statue with maybe bronze plates with veterans names on them.” The Honor Roll committee will meet again on September 4, at which time Levi and Wong will present detailed site plans with building material suggestions. A few potential paving materials include blue slate, brick and crushed stone.

Between two and three hundred names of Carlisle veterans will go on the new honor roll, three of whom died during wartime. One Carlisle resident died in WWII and two Carlisle residents died in Vietnam. Veterans living in town for 25 years or more may submit their names for the new honor roll until February, 2009.

The Honor Roll committee plans to invite the First Religious Society Parish Committee, Historical Commission, Town Center Committee, Pathways Committee and other town boards to review design options at a meeting in mid-September. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito