Merrimac dedicates memorial to veterans Monday

Courtesy photoThe new Merrimac veterans memorial will be dedicated Monday during the town's Veterans Day ceremony.

MERRIMAC — A new memorial to those who have served their country will be unveiled at Church Street Cemetery on Veterans Day.

A special 10-member Merrimac Veterans Memorial Committee was formed in 2016 to look into the feasibility of erecting a monument.

Although it was not a town project, the Board of Selectmen permitted the committee to erect the monument on the training fields next to the cemetery.

The state also awarded the memorial committee a $15,000 grant for the monument, which portrays a soldier kneeling before a rifle, boots and helmet.

Former Selectman Carol Traynor, a member of the committee, said the monument is designed to honor those who served, whether it be in peacetime or times of conflict.

“He symbolizes all soldiers,” Traynor said. “This is for anyone who ever served in any branch of the military. It is a very all-inclusive monument. You don't have to be from Merrimac and you certainly don't have to be deceased. You can be serving presently, or in the past.”

She said the committee raised roughly $28,000 on its own through the sale of memorial bricks and also received donations of concrete and wood from local contractor John Cormier.

While the Merrimac Light Department donated some work for the project, the town did not pay for the memorial, according to Traynor.

"We sold 280 bricks," she said. "We got $5,000 from each of the two banks in town, the North Shore Bank and the Haverhill Bank. We also got another $5,000 contribution from another contractor. That's how we put it all together and there were no tax dollars put into this."

Town Clerk Gwendolyn Lay Sabbagh said money was raised to purchase two bricks memorializing Paul Buck, who was a merchant marine killed during World War II, as well as U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Donald Wise, who went down with the USS Thresher, a nuclear submarine that sank off the coast in April 1963.

“We had one person who was a Polish (prisoner of war),” Traynor said. “This was probably from a grandchild or someone related to them. They wanted to honor that."

Memorial bricks cost $100 each and can be ordered until February at www.brickmarkersusa.com/donors/merrimac.html.

"This monument is dedicated to all of the people who have served," Lay Sabbagh said. "It is not just for any one branch of the military but all branches from all times. They don't have to be residents and they don't have to have given their lives. We have residents who are honoring their parents who lived here."

Daniel Clark, known as the singing trooper, will be at the dedication, which will take place during the Veterans Day ceremony at the cemetery on Monday at 10 a.m.

"I'm hoping for good weather and I'm very excited about it," Traynor said. "I think this will be a great addition to the town and I was honored to have contributed."

In case of inclement weather, the dedication ceremony will be held at Pilgrim Congregational Church at 27 Church St.

"I'm not on Facebook but I heard the words (about the monument) on there were stunning," Traynor said. "I think for Facebook, that is pretty good."

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

IF YOU GO

What: Merrimac Veterans Memorial dedication.

Where: The training fields next to Church Street Cemetery.

When: Monday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m.

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