Town of Chester veterans watch granite slabs being dropped into place in mid-June for the Chester Veterans Memorial, which is to be dedicated in a ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday July 7.
An expansive memorial honoring local U.S. soldiers who served during the entire history of our nation is to be dedicated in a community celebration this weekend.
The Chester Veterans’ Memorial and plaza are to be christened in a ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday July 7.
It is believed to be the most ambitious memorial developed to date in the town’s history, according to town of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe.
“This is a significant event in the town’s history,” Monroe said, noting he hasn’t experienced such a ceremony here in his 57 years of residing in Chester.
The memorial is a series of eight stones in a semicircular arrangement in front of the town of Chester Municipal Center. The six-feet-tall memorials honor the men and women from the town of Chester who served their nation from the Revolutionary War to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The granite monuments, engraved with about 1,000 names, are flanked with six flags representing the Army Navy, Air Force, Marines Coast Guard and a POW/MIA flag.
There is also a fallen soldier’s memorial, a grouping of bronzed U.S. military boots, helmet, dogtag and rifle.
Expected to be present for the ceremony are several dignitaries, including state Veterans’ Affairs Acting Director William Kraus, State Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward. Area officials attending include Warren County Clerk Pam Vogel, county Sheriff Bud York, and Thomas Murphy, new CEO of Arrow Financial and Glens Falls National Bank — a major contributor to the memorial.
The ceremony is to include patriotic songs, live bagpipe music and a U.S. Marine Corps color guard.
The event is being held on the same day as the town’s Summerfest, which includes a barbecue at 6 p.m., when the dedication ceremonies are anticipated to conclude.
The construction of the memorial plaza was orchestrated by a planning committee of area veterans, and bankrolled with about $70,000 donated by area businesses and individuals.
The town partnered with the project, with highway department employees constructing the new memorial plaza — which is envisioned to host events, festivals and concerts.
Monroe said the Veterans Memorial Plaza project has injected new energy into the revitalization of the hamlet of Chestertown.
The money raised by the veterans provided a match to a state grant that is to provide improvements along Main St., including streetlamps signs and sidewalk redevelopment, he said.
“The memorial plaza is really impressive, and it was amazing how it was completed so quickly,” Monroe said.
Downtown Revitalization Committee chairwoman Mary Jane Dower offered a similar opinion.
“Everyone is very proud of the memorial,” she said. “Local citizens are so excited.”