WENHAM — The new veterans memorial has taken nearly seven years of effort, and at times competing interests battled over where it would go and what it would look like.
But yesterday morning under sunny skies, all of that controversy was put aside when the town broke ground on the first phase of a new monument honoring Wenham residents who served in the military during wartimes.
The ceremony took place on the “car barn lot” in the center of town along Route 1A at Arbor Street, across the street from Town Hall.
“It is so rewarding to see it actually take place now,” said former Selectman John Clemenzi. “It is a great recognition for those who have given so much.”
About 45 people, including veterans, members of the War Veterans Memorial Committee, selectmen, state lawmakers and others were on hand for the ceremony.
With contracts awarded and construction about to start, four stakes topped with orange ribbon marked the spot where the tall, granite marker will stand. A backhoe stood nearby, with a dozen shovels whose blades were spray-painted gold for the ceremony leaning against it.
“Today we think about a new effort,” said state Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, “an effort that will remind us every day about the men and women who have sacrificed so that we could defend the ideals that make us the greatest nation on the face of the earth.”
State Rep. Brad Hill of Ipswich said the town should be applauding the committee “for a job well done,” and those gathered broke out into applause.
A rendering of the monument, which is more than 17 feet tall, shows an obelisk, made of granite from Barry, Vermont, with bronze plaques at its base and a globe with an eagle landing on the United States, signifying veterans returning from varying parts of the world, said Bruce Blanchard, co-chairman of the War Veterans Memorial Committee.