HORICON - Brant Lake soldier Jeremiah Monroe sacrificed his life in the Afghanistan war this August, and townspeople and area veterans are establishing a veterans memorial park in his memory.
While the formal dedication ceremony is to be held in May, area veterans held a memorial ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at the park, located in the hamlet of Adirondack across from the general store.
People primarily from Chester and Horicon, including the communities of Adirondack and Brant Lake, gathered for the ceremony - citizens of all ages, and veterans from a number of wars and conflicts. Together, they paid a tribute to Jeremiah Monroe's ultimate sacrifice.
Ron Roberts, Chaplain of Chester Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5513, presented Monroe's mother, Delores "Peanut" Monroe, with a citation of honor signed by the VFW's national Commander in Chief.
Roberts offered a prayer for Delores Monroe and other Gold Star Parents who lost their children in combat.
"Bless and comfort them; give them the courage to accomplish their daily tasks and to meet the problems of life, and grant that their example may be our inspiration," Roberts said.
The park resurrection project was initially launched last year when Erwin Robbins, aided by his family members, decided to replace a memorial, an honor roll of U.S. soldiers that served in World War II, Town Clerk Arlene Mayer said Monday.
Town highway employees and volunteers cut down a considerable amount of brush, cut trees and sculpted the site, set up some picnic tables, erected a flag pole, and moved a phone booth.
Then after Monroe was killed while on duty in Afghanistan, local veterans and town officials jointly decided to officially name it the Jeremiah Monroe Veterans Memorial Park - and work on the park continued with new significance, Mayer said.
"When the town lost Jeremiah, it only seemed fitting to honor him however all us could," she said. "Everybody has been so excited about this project, because it represents a whole revival of the area. It's such a beautiful setting, and this work is bringing it back to life."
Plans call for a bronze plaque to be installed, and a flower garden to be planted, both scheduled for spring.
Mayer said many people from several communities and all walks of life have worked together to make the memorial park a reality.
"It's a real town-wide project between town board, town employees, volunteers, veterans and Adirondack residents," Mayer said. "It's a wonderful tribute."