Cumberland aims for 2012 dedication of veterans monument

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CUMBERLAND — A monument to veterans from as far back as the American Revolution is now expected to be dedicated next Memorial Day, Town Manager Bill Shane said Monday.

A golf tournament will be held later this month to help raise the remaining funds to complete the more than $60,000 monument.

Shane said $36,000 has been raised to pay for three stones in Moss Side Cemetery on Main Street. A 4-by-8-foot center stone erected a year ago recognizes “all Cumberland residents who have served our country in times of war and peace.”

Both sides of the two other India black granite stones and the back of the center stone will be inscribed with names of veterans. The town has collected more than 600 so far, and the stones have room for 1,400, Shane said.

“Hopefully our kids in schools … can visit that and see the history that Cumberland has had in just about every conflict, as well as peacetime,” he said.

Shane said approximately $25,000 more is needed to pay for the names to be inscribed, brick pavers around the monument, lighting, granite benches and landscaping. The remaining funds might have to be partly subsidized by the town until the fundraising is complete, he noted.

“It would be great if we could get this whole thing paid for without tax dollars, and that’s the goal,” Shane said.

Last year the monument was expected to cost $50,000, but additional names submitted for inclusion and the rising cost of granite caused the price tag to increase, Shane said. Slower-than-expected fundraising delayed the monument’s dedication from the original plan of Memorial Day this year.

The golf tournament to be held Thursday, Aug. 25, will run from noon to 5 p.m. at the Val Halla Golf & Recreation Center on Val Halla Road. Recreation Director Brian Bickford can be reached at 829-2225 for more information.

Shane said the final two stones can be installed before the inscriptions are made, and that the engravings can be done on site. The Cumberland Veterans Monument Committee, an ad hoc group appointed by the Town Council, will meet later this month to discuss whether it would be worthwhile from a fundraising standpoint to erect the full monument first without the names, “encouraging people to help send money in so we can get the names engraved,” Shane said.

The other stones may be up this fall. The format of the names – whether they should be listed by conflict, by branch of service, or in alphabetical order – must also be determined. Shane said another option is to group families together.

“It’s a recognition monument versus a memorial monument,” he said, “because a lot of people are still alive that will be (listed).”

People interested in making a donation can contact Shane or Executive Assistant Brenda Moore at 829-2205.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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This monument at Moss Side Cemetery in Cumberland is to be expanded and hold the names of veterans dating back to the American Revolution.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.