, Newburyport, MA

May 16, 2014

Misconceptions about war memorial fundraising

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the Editor:

In November of 2012 a group of private citizens formed a committee, 501C3, under the Amesbury Improvement Association for the purpose of identifying and restoring the veterans’ memorials in Amesbury.

The mission of the committee is to restore and commemorate veterans’ monuments within the city of Amesbury which honor all veterans for their military service, sacrifices and contributions. As a non-profit community committee we seek to develop a plan for continuing restoration and maintenance for these monuments. After identifying 20 military memorials the decision was made to restore the magnificent Doughboy, created by Leonard Craske in 1929, in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI.

To accomplish this goal the committee opened a private account at a local bank, mailed donation request letters to all chamber businesses, placed canisters in high traffic city businesses, made personal appearances at the Rotary, Chamber and Lions Club meetings, kept the public apprised of progress through the Newburyport Daily News and WNBP and Channel 12, held a benefit dinner sponsored by the Amesbury Police Department, mailed brochures and flyers, met with school administrators and sold magnets.

To date over $20,000 had been collected and deposited through the generosity of private citizens and friends of Amesbury. Donations have been received literally from across the country from Washington to Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

On May 18 at 2 p.m. the people of Amesbury and surrounding cities and counties will gather to view the unveiling of the restored Doughboy Monument. This unveiling represents the pride of all those who so generously donated money for this event. As we attend or think about this restoration project we must remember that it was because of our veterans that we enjoy today’s rights and privileges including free speech. Free speech may be a right and privilege but the expectation and responsibility that accompanies it is that all comments shall be vetted and verified prior to being expressed to the public.

We would hope that the Citizens for Lower Taxes in Amesbury take pause and reconsider their Facebook comments regarding this very special community project. It would be tragic to shed a shadow of doubt on a project that gives tribute and respect to those veterans who sacrificed so much and allowed us to live a life of freedom. It is both disturbing and disappointing that such a group whose membership includes a city councilor publically post inaccurate and untrue information. The right thing to do now is to post an updated message on Facebook clarifying that all funds for this project come from individual private donations.

AVMCR Committee:

Ski Iworsky, Co-Chairman; Paul “Jancy” Jancewicz, Co-Chairman; Karen Baptiste; Bob Bastien; Bob Evan; Ruth Genova; Frances Justin; Kathy Lucy; Todd McGrath; Mary Therrien; Rosemary Werner