Cumberland council approves first phase of veterans memorial

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CUMBERLAND – The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to erect a veterans monument at Moss Side Cemetery.

The council also authorized the collection of donations for the monument.

Town Manager Bill Shane said the Cumberland Veterans Monument Committee wanted the OK to solicit private funds for the project, and to sign contracts with Collette Monument to install the phase 1 base monument of the two-phase project.

The base, composed of polished black stone about 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide, will be inscribed with a message commemorating all Cumberland residents who served in the U.S. military in times of war and peace. Veterans of every war from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan will be included, as will veterans or active members of the military, reserves or National Guard.

“The committee voted unanimously that they wanted to be extremely inclusive with this process, and try to recognize all our veterans in all the branches of service,” Shane said.

The committee is gathering names for the second phase of the project, when those names will be displayed on additional stones on both sides of the base monument. The committee requires proof of veteran status, such as a copy of discharge papers or a photo of the veteran in uniform.

Phase 1 is due to cost $15,000; $7,000 has already been allocated from the Main Street flag project and the Cemetery Association, leaving a balance of $8,000 to be raised, Shane said.

The entire project is due to cost about $35,000.

The Cumberland Public Works Department will do most of the earthwork for the endeavor.

Since delivery of the stone takes about 120 days, and the goal for completion of phase 1 is Memorial Day, the town will foot the bill for the project, but be reimbursed after fundraising is complete. Shane expressed confidence that the town would be reimbursed by Memorial Day, if not soon afterward.

Bob Heyner of Forest Lake Road, a veteran, expressed his support for the program.

“It’s nice that this is a vet project,” to ultimately be funded by the veterans and not taxpayers, he said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.