GWOT Memorial takes first steps toward honoring local veterans

Although not fully funded yet, the Global War On Terror monument at the Pepperell Rotary has reached a milestone in construction. The central monolith has been erected. NASHOBA VALLEY VOICE/SCOTT SHURTLEFF
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PEPPERELL – After
years of planning and
fundraising, the town’s
monument to the service
members who fought in the
Global War On Terror
finally stood at attention
on Veterans Day

It is the first phase of an
elaborate memorial.

The eight-foot-tall granite
monolith near the
town’s rotary has cut from
its middle the image of a
geared-up soldier marching.
As the sun catches the
voided space, that marching
soldier’s shadow projects
onto the ground. Surrounding
the spectacular
central slab is an array of
five diamond-shaped
stones, each emblazoned
with the seal of a branch of
the U.S. military.

The $200,000 cost is
being raised by the Middlesex
GWOT Trust, a nonprofit
organization loosely
headquartered at the
town’s VFW. Chairperson
Jean Murphy Connolly
said the group needs to
raise $30,000 more.
Pavers and bricks will
be sold for $75. They
maybe custom-engraved
with the name of a local
veteran. Pavers will be laid
into the floor of the circular
patio.

The individual bricks, 4
inches by 8 inches, or the
larger pavers, $1,000 each
at 12 inches square, are
available for purchase
until Feb. 1.

Other funding came
from local businesses,
whose company name is
written onto one of the five
stone benches around the
patio. Connolly emphasizes
that the bricks can be
purchased for any veteran,
not just the post-911 operations.

Connolly’s son, David, a
veteran of the Afghanistan
theater, came up with the
idea.

“I heard him (David)
and some of his friends
talking about it one day,”
she said of the initial idea,
which surfaced more than
five years ago. “I decided to
spearhead it to make it
become more than just an
idea. All we want is for
them not to be forgotten.”

Scheduled for completion
in late spring, Connolly
hopes to have an official
ceremony on June 6,
2019.

“There is a lot we could
be doing right now'” she
said. “But the weather has
not cooperated.”

Getting discounted
prices from local contractors
has also helped launch
the project. “We have had
great support from the
town,” she said. “They
donated the land to us.”

She downplays her role
in the project as merely
clerical, “It is not about
me,” she stressed. “It is for
the men and women who
served, both from our community
and across the
nation.”

Originally designed to
sit due north/south, the
center stone was pivoted
slightly to offer higher visibility
for drivers who pass
through the rotary.

Cut and carved in Vermont,
the stone was set in
place by local companies,
including Leominster Monument
Company in Lunenburg,
which will make the
benches, pavers, bricks
and cornerstones.

To donate or to purchase
a brick, visit the Middlesex
GWOT website or Facebook
page.