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Today's youth honoring yesterday's servicemen

31st Dec 2012

In 1919, after the end of the Great War (later known as World War One) the town of  Columbia, CT decided to honor their men who served oversees with a stone affixed with a Bronze Plaque bearing their names. Located in the very center of the town, at the intersection of its busiest roads, it was a fitting tribute.
Of course, this was a time where cars were slower and people would often walk by the monument. Now the roads have grown into minor highways, and nobody takes the time to stop their cars to view 'an old rock'. Talking to people around town, nobody noticed it was there or knew what it was. The solution to this, proposed by a Naval Officer living in town, was that it be moved to a more respectable location at the town green. He asked me if I'd be willing to coordinate the effort and fund it for my Eagle Project. Being the son of a Veteran, I felt strongly about the fact that people had forgotten people who gave their service, and sometimes their lives, for our country. In addition, I believe it is important that history be remembered in order that it may be learned from, and not repeated. 
I sought the approval of the town Board of Selectmen, and received unanimous approval for the project. I then presented the idea to my local council, where they said that It wasn't quite enough for an Eagle project. They agreed to let me carry it out once I proposed building a reflecting space in addition to moving the memorial.
The first step in this was to raise money for the purchase of paving stones, garden flowers and plants, and the materials to build a park bench. To do this, my troop and I washed cars for no charge and collected donations. We raised $749 by working for two days straight.
With the money collected, first I used it to purchase a circular paving kit. With the help of the scouts in my troop, we installed the paving stones at the town green and prepared the site for the memorial. Then, using the assistance of a backhoe and front-end loader, we excavated and moved the WWI memorial  roughly 500 feet from the highway intersection to the new planned site. 
The memorial installed, we prepared flower beds and planted several varieties of plants and shrubs. We also built and installed a park bench.
18 people, including myself, worked to make this possible. Over 215 man hours went into the relocation of the memorial, building the bench, planting the flowers, installing paving stones, and washing cars. The result is a beautiful garden, open to the public, where people can sit, remember the veterans, or just think and reflect. The Board of Selectmen and the citizens of Columbia have thanked us repeatedly for the effort, and the place is now a focal point in the yearly town ceremonies on Veteran's and Memorial day. 

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