After two years in the planning, public is invited to join the brick tribute to vets –
Patricia Beech –
The Friends of the North Adams Library (FNAL) held a Wednesday ceremony dedicating the library’s new Veterans Memorial. The memorial, surrounding the base of the building’s flag pole, is comprised of bricks inscribed with the names of veterans.
“This is our tribute to veterans,” said Patty Wilmoth, member of the FNAL, “It’s been a long time coming, but we finally got it together, and we’re very proud of it.”
The FNAL envisioned a memorial that would involve direct participation from community members.
“This was a dream we had when we were building the library,” said Karen Hughes, President of the FNAL. “To build a memorial to honor our military people – past and present, and to give our community the opportunity to honor and respect them.”
Community members may purchase the bricks for $20 each, inscriptions included. Each brick is inscribed with a veteran’s name, branch of service, and years of service. Veterans deceased or living are eligible. Applications for the bricks are available at the North Adams Library.
The memorial was part of the library’s original building plans, but when the library was completed in 2013, the design for the memorial project had not been finalized.
“When they were building the library we were focused on putting the flag pole right out front because we had this project in mind,” said Hughes. “It has taken us a couple years to find the right people to lay the bricks, but we found the right people at the right time, at the right place, and they did a beautiful job.
Justin and John Michael designed the pattern and laid the memorial’s 400 bricks. Steve Ryan of Ryan’s Monuments in Peebles provides the engravings. Bricks bearing a gold star signify soldiers killed in action.
“It is just a beautiful thing to see,” said Hughes, “The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of veterans will be able to come here and see this tribute, and these veterans will always be remembered.”
Pastor Chris Johnson from the Winchester Church of Christ in Christian Union told those assembled for the event, “What makes America great are the people who are willing to take personal responsibility for the freedom of their neighbor, and the freedom of their nation.” Johnson, who served in the military from 1994-97 said, “It is an honor to be counted among them. They put their lives on the line so that we can have freedom, and they did it for little pay, and sometimes no recognition. There are those who have given the last full measure of devotion on the battlefield. We should honor their sacrifices by living the best lives we can.”
The Friends of the North Adams Library is a volunteer organization that raises funds and provides extra services for our library.