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Chester veterans memorial taking shape

Dedication set for July 7

After Chestertown area veterans gathered May 18 to observe progress on the new Chester Veterans Memorial, they accepted a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol from Shay Mason, an aide of U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson. Participating in the presentation were (left to right): Shay Mason and veterans Harry Bollback, Lou Russo, Ron Robert, Bill Linton, Harry Brundage, Harry Smith and Joe Slattery.

After Chestertown area veterans gathered May 18 to observe progress on the new Chester Veterans Memorial, they accepted a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol from Shay Mason, an aide of U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson. Participating in the presentation were (left to right): Shay Mason and veterans Harry Bollback, Lou Russo, Ron Robert, Bill Linton, Harry Brundage, Harry Smith and Joe Slattery. Photo by Thom Randall.

— A half dozen area veterans gathered May 18 on the lawn of the Town of Chester Municipal center to observe some construction work.

A few days earlier, excavators had scooped up tons of soil, and concrete footings were poured for four massive granite slabs that are to bear the names of area citizens who have served in the U.S. military.

Harry Bollback, a U.S. Marine veteran serving in World War II, overlooked the work that had been completed.

“To see this, is like a miracle,” said Bollback, a founder of Word of Life Ministries. “We all dreamed of this, and it caught fire.”

Within several weeks, the four multi-ton slabs of Vermont granite will be standing on the lawn in a semicircle.

Planted in front of the town of Chester’s municipal headquarters, the six-feet-tall memorials are to forever honor the men and women of Chestertown, Pottersvillle and elsewhere in the town of Chester who served their nation, Bollback said. Those engraved names will be of soldiers serving in either combat or otherwise from the Revolutionary War to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The granite monuments, which were being engraved this week with 979 names, will be flanked with six flags representing the Army Navy, Air Force, Marines Coast Guard and a POW/MIA flag.

There is also to be a fallen soldier’s memorial, a grouping of bronzed U.S. military boots, helmet, dogtag and rifle.

The monuments and flags, to stand about 25 feet from the municipal center’s entrance, will be illuminated at night.

The development, referred to as Veterans Plaza, has been designed in conjunction with a plan to hold festivals and outdoor gatherings on the municipal center’s lawn.

The plaza and the veterans memorial are to be dedicated in a patriotic public ceremony planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, July 7.

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