Families of Vermont's fallen soldiers seek community help

While the Global War On Terror may have become a political lightning rod during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, one fact remains today: the lives and safety of many young Americans are at risk. Since 2001, Americans have shed blood in the multi-front conflict triggered by terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. While Americans remain unevenly divided over the war effort and the imprisonment of combatants, most of the families of Vermont's fallen soldiers believe the overall battle against terrorism is worth fighting.

Now, thanks to an effort spearheaded by a group of Vermonters including Ray DeGiovine, the father of USMC Cpl. Chris DeGiovine, age 25, of Essex Junction, a lasting memorial will honor the lives of Vermont's fallen.

A graduate of Essex High School and Champlain College, young Chris DeGiovine took part in community bicycle patrols for the Essex Police Department. His goal was to pursue a full-time career in police work in Vermont after his military service came to an end. But the corporal's plans were not meant to be. Cpl. DeGiovine, assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., died April 26, 2007, in combat in Iraq.

Now Cpl. DeGiovine, and other young Vermont men like him, will be remembered in stone; a native granite monument will honor the lives of those who gave-and will give-their last full measure of devotion to the nation.

"This memorial will be a lasting testament to our soldiers killed in the nation's current wars, as well as a tribute recognizing the selfless commitment of those who have served and will serve in these conflicts," said DeGiovine.

"It is designed by Dana Morissette of Granite Industries of Vermont and will be built with Barre gray granite. It will consist of a sculpture of an M-16 rifle, helmet and dog tags, with relief carvings showing a citizen-soldier and a maple tree shedding leaves that symbolize fallen service members," he said

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