The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vets’ Honor Roll nears completion

Dedication planned with jet fly-by & cannon fire

The footings are in and the drainage looks good on the Town Common, where work on the new Veterans’ Honor Roll monument is moving along. The goal is to complete the monument in time for the grand Dedication Ceremony planned for June 28. VIPs have been invited, an honor guard has been arranged, and even a three-star general will be in attendance, with a possible F16 fly-over.

Veterans’ Honor Roll Committee members review plans for the June 28 Dedication Ceremony on the Town Common. From left to right: Alan Cameron, Ned Berube, Larry Bearfield, resident Jean Morin, Doug Stevenson and Alan Carpenito. Missing is Greg Fairbank. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

The goal of the construction project is to replace the wooden Honor Roll structures at the corner of School Street and Concord Street with a low granite monument on the Town Common. The current Honor Roll is full and does not contain the names of veterans who have served since the Gulf War. The new Honor Roll will include 286 names (almost twice as many as the old Honor Roll) and will clearly separate them by the eras during which they served. In comparison, the current Honor Roll has Korea and Vietnam conflicts mixed together.

The project received $98,000 in funding from the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), which was approved at the May 5, 2008 Town Meeting. The new Honor Roll memorial, designed by the firm of Levi & Wong, will be handicapped-accessible and include a sitting area. Residents can keep abreast of the project by checking the Honor Roll website (

The granite will be delivered soon, noted Honor Roll Committee member Larry Bearfield, at the group’s May 28 meeting. “The installer is ready as soon as the granite comes in,” added Selectman Doug Stevenson, another member of the committee.

The original plans called for a long drainage pipe leading away from the monument and emptying into a dry well, which would involve extensive disruption of the landscape on the Town Common. “Do we need it?” asked Stevenson, noting the many layers of stone, crushed stone and stone dust already in place. The committee discussed the mess the added work would make and the possibility of a delay. “I think to keep things moving we could dig it in the future if necessary,” said Stevenson.

The committee spent many months reaching out to Carlisle veterans. The criteria used to determine whether a name would be included include an honorable discharge and either: 1. Entered active military service while living in Carlisle; 2. Currently in active military service while living in Carlisle; 3. Was in active military service and has lived in Carlisle for at least 25 years, including veterans who may not be living here currently.

The names will be inscribed on brass plates and placed along the sloping top of the low granite wall. Committee member Alan Cameron passed out the list, asking for one last check on the names. “Our goal is to get as many names as possible,” said Stevenson.

A dedication ceremony to remember

Bearfield marched the team through the events planned for the public dedication ceremony to begin at 2 p.m. on June 28. Lieutenant General Ted F. Bowlds, a three-star general, will attend. General Bowlds is the Commander of the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base. Bearfield said around 80 invitations have been sent, including local, state, and national dignitaries. “Cory Atkins said she is planning to come. If we get anyone from Washington, we’ll have their security people talk to Chief Sullivan. It’s going on, rain or shine. If it rains, we’ll get some large tents.”

Bearfield rolled out a map of the area around the Town Common to show where the event will take place. The committee plans to close off a section of School Street in front of the First Religious Society and will use the street as a seating area. “We’ve received FAA approval for a fly-by” of an F16, said Bearfield. “Now it’s at the Pentagon for approval.” The committee agreed that if a three-star general wants a fly-over it most likely will happen.

Salutes and honor guards

“We determined that protocol is to have a three-volley salute,” said Bearfield. The volleys will be given by the Carlisle Minutemen and possibly the Concord cannon. A short discussion ensued on where to place the cannon, because, Cameron pointed out, when it went off in Concord you could practically hear it in Carlisle. One possible location is behind the fire station, aiming into the woods.

An honor guard from Hanscom will attend, representing the five branches of the military. Bearfield will be contacting Concord Carlisle Television (CCTV) to televise and record the event. During the ceremony Stevenson will be the emcee. He asked members of the committee to read sections of the Honor Roll, similar to how it is done on Memorial Day. Bearfield said he has timed many sections of the ceremony and said, “It will take about 16 minutes to read the names.” The ceremony will include recognition of those soldiers killed in action and they discussed asking Carlisle School students to play Taps. ∆

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