SCHROON LAKE - The new Veterans Memorial Wall in Schroon Lake honors the service of more than 800 residents, but it does much more.
"It's our sacred duty to keep the legacy of nation's patriots fresh in the minds of future generations," said Ed Donley, chairman of the wall committee, during dedication ceremonies May 28. "That is why we erected this monument.
"I hope many of the children here today will come forward to look for the names of relatives on the wall," he continued. "Perhaps they will find a grandfather, great-grandfather or even their great-great-grandfather."
The memorial wall, located in the town park, lists names of Schroon veterans from the Revolutionary war to the present. Any veteran who served two years or more on active duty and grew up in Schroon or was conscripted from Schroon or was a resident of Schroon and a registered voter with an honorable discharge was eligible to be listed on the new monument.
The memorial wall is actually two stone wings on either side of the town's existing war memorial near the Schroon bandstand. Each wall has bronze plaques attached with names of Schroon veterans.
The project has been six years in the making. Fundraising started in 2004 and ground was broken on the wall Nov. 7, 2007, as part of Veterans Day activities.
"The memorial cost about $60,000 with the veterans raising over half and the town providing the remainder, making this endeavor truly a community effort," Donley said.
About 200 people attended the dedication ceremony that included music from the Word of Life band and Schroon Lake Central School chorus.
Schroon Supervisor Cathy Moses acknowledged the efforts of veterans and those who worked to create the memorial wall.
"We commend all our veterans for serving our country and keeping us free," Moses said. "We also commendEd Donley and the local veterans who worked six long years to make this memorial a reality."
Donley was joined on the memorial committee by Don Sage and Donald Sharlan.
Donley said the project was difficult, although rewarding.
"I want to thank everyone who helped make this memorial a reality," he said. "We are particularly proud of what our veterans and the town of Schroon have accomplished. This project was a huge and overwhelming project for our small group of veterans."
There is still work to be done, Donley noted. Plans call for a sidewalk, seven flag pole and landscaping to be completed at the site.