PEPPERELL– Following the instructions of the selectmen, the Global War on Terrorism Monument Committee met with Cemetery and Parks Manager Terry Spaulding on Tuesday to present him with their most recent designs and ask about maintenance.
The meeting with Spaulding was very positive, according to committee members.
"He was blown away," Jean Connolly reported to the group.
Chairman Bob Connolly said Spaulding advised them that the next step would be to take the design to back to the Board of Selectmen. When Connolly first met with the board in January, they had instructed him first to speak with Spaulding and then to come back with a more concrete design. The committee hopes to bring back their design to the selectmen at their next meeting in March.
The design has come a long way since Connolly’s first discussion with the board. At the design subcommittee meeting on Tuesday night, designer Lee Rich presented the group with the most recent drawings for discussion.
From an aerial view, the current design shows the monument shaped like a star; five paths would lead up to the five points of the star.
Inside of the internal pentagon of the star would stand a two-inch thick slab of granite in the shape and dimensions of half of the pentagon. It is currently sketched at nine feet tall at its highest point. Contours of Iraq and Afghanistan would be etched in the granite, one country on either side of the slab.
At the base of the slab, the American flag would fly.
At each tip of the star, the committee had originally discussed placing a flag representing each branch of the military.
But, said Rich, "The whole idea of having six flagpoles might be pretty cumbersome, with the idea of the flags being up and down and everything."
Instead of the flagpoles, Rich brought up the idea of anchoring each point with a concrete or stone base, inlaid with a medallion of each branch’s insignia. Behind each medallion, a light would shine through, illuminating the American flagpole.
The pentagon would be filled with what Rich referred to as a "sandbox," filled with concrete, to represent the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan. Inside, several sets of footprints would be walking across the sandbox towards the flagpole, representing the return home of the military personnel who fought overseas.
Committee member Mike Levesque mentioned having one or two of the footprint paths taper off before reaching the flagpole, and other committee members approved of the idea.
"It shows maybe not everybody came back the same way they went in, if at all," said Adam Taylor.
The committee also discussed incorporating five sets of footprints, each standing in attention at a 45-degree angle in front of each medallion. The heels of the boots would complete the tips of the star.
One design concern that Rich had was the empty space on the slab of granite that was not being occupied by the shapes of the countries.
Committee members discussed incorporating the silhouette of a non-descript military member, with a pack and a rifle. He would be walking toward the flag, his back turned towards the image of the country, to represent his return home. The members plan to research some images for inspiration and bring their concepts back to the full committee at their March 2 meeting.
"We don’t have to finish the design on the stone now," said Connolly. "If we have a decent concept for on the stone, that’s good for now."