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May 20, 2013

Letter: WWII Memorial group keeps moving forward

To the editor:

The World War II Memorial Committee has passed another milestone.

We have our 600 engraved bricks committed and paid for. After Memorial Day this year, we will have the contractor remove all the bricks on the last undisturbed section of the memorial and fill up the spaces with the last of the committed bricks of World War II service men from Gloucester.

In October 2002, I participated in a ceremony in a small town in Belgium, just south of Bastogne, to honor Gen. Patton and the 35th Infantry Division. The citizens were gracious and friendly. I never expected such hospitality.

In order to beat the Germans in a game of war, much damage was inflicted on their property and many civilians were killed or wounded. The civilians, however, looked at us as their saviors — anything to get rid of the arrogant Nazi thugs.

Some of these Nazi thugs would kill anyone that disagreed with them. We were the answer to our Belgian friends’ prayers. Our host showed us many memorials and monuments that they erected to honor the Americans.

This was an awakening. At that time, I could not think of even one memorial that our city or any organization had erected to honor our men and women from Gloucester.

Shortly after this, on Veterans’ Day 2002, I called for volunteers to join a committee to raise money and awareness, to decide on a design and find a location for a memorial. On July 4, 2006, after a lot of needless controversy, we erected and dedicated the World War II Memorial on Kent Circle.

Since then, we have raised money for the longtime upkeep of the memorial and the grounds in that immediate area. This has all been done with the help and support of the citizens and businesses of Gloucester.

We have a wonderful website at www.gloucesterww2vetsmemorial.org, which honors the veterans of World War II and which also perpetuates their memory. We have all of our Gloucester veterans listed alphabetically on the website. But we are very short on photos. If no one has submitted a photo, we cannot include it with the others.

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