By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The Select Board requested that the proposed new War Memorial’s size to be scaled back during a Sept. 12 meeting.
Select Board member Joe Connell, who also serves as the War Memorial Committee’s chairman, gave an update on the project to his colleagues last week. He recalled that the
Select Board approved the new War Memorial’s design in December 2017.
Connell said the new War Memorial is going to be constructed across the street from the Town Common on the green space adjacent to South Common Street. He said the new War Memorial will have an oval shape, and will feature a curved wall that will contain plaques that will honor the Lynnfield veterans who served in each branch of the military. The new memorial will also include an American flagpole with lighting, four granite benches and landscaping.
“The War Memorial’s design right now is a 90-foot wide width curve that has an egg shape and is 55-feet in depth,” said Connell. “That was the design that was picked and approved. We will not move or alter any existing war memorial.”
Connell said the new memorial will include custom granite plates that will give a brief history lesson about each war, maps of the conflict and will list the names of the Lynnfield veterans who served in that conflict. He said the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C inspired the design.
“We felt this was important for our young children to understand,” said Connell. “There will be 40 names per plate, and there will be 46 plates. We currently know of 833 names. We could go up to 1,000 names. This portion of the project will cost $68,000.”
In order to verify the names of Lynnfield veterans who will be appearing on the new War Memorial, Connell said the WMC has been publishing the names in the Villager (see separate story). He said the names have been posted on the town’s website as well.
“We don’t want to miss a single name,” said Connell. “We are trying to get the information out by listing the names. The War Memorial Committee will meet on the third Thursday of every month up until January 2023. That is for anyone to come forward and say a name is missing. We don’t want to miss anyone.”
Connell said residents will need to provide evidence that either they or a relative served in a war.
In response to a question from Select Board Chairman Phil Crawford, Connell said the veterans whose names will be listed on the new War Memorial must have been a Lynnfield resident when they either enlisted or were drafted into the military.
“We will look at each individual case,” said Connell.
Connell thanked Boy Scout Matthew Squadrito, who is a sophomore at Lynnfield High School, for helping the WMC verify the names of Lynnfield veterans who served in different American wars.
“Matthew has been a tremendous help,” said Connell. “I can’t say enough how dedicated this young man is.”
The panels about each war will be separated. As an example, Connell said the Revolutionary War will need two panels while World War II and the Vietnam War will each need eight panels to include all of the names and biographical information.
Connell said the new memorial’s walking area will be made of brick pavers. He said residents will be able to buy a brick and have a veteran’s named engraved on it.
Site work for the new memorial was completed on July 1, which Connell said was funded by a $50,000 grant that was included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget. He said there will be two handicap parking spaces that will be adjacent to the Pope-Richard Lynnfield Historical Center’s driveway.
Crawford thanked Connell for giving a thorough presentation about the project. He said there have been residents who reached out to him who expressed concerns about the new memorial’s size.
“The space is used quite often,” said Crawford. “Is there going to be any space left there or is the current design taking up the entire space?”
Connell said the new War Memorial “will take up the majority of the space.” He said the memorial’s size could be reduced.
Crawford recalled that the town hired a food truck to cater the First Responders Day ceremony. He said reducing the new War Memorial’s size to 45-feet will make sure there is still space for residents to use.
“I think that is a good compromise because there are a lot of activities held during the year that use that space,” said Crawford. “I think it would be good to have a site visit to take a look at it.”
Select Board member Dick Dalton said he supports having the board undertake a site visit along with Planning and Conservation Director Emilie Cademartori and Town Engineer Patrick McAlpine. He also noted that the town can’t place vendors on South Common Street during events because the Police and Fire Departments might need to use the street during an emergency.
“Emergency vehicles need to be able to get in and out of there,” said Dalton. “We have to be careful with the amount of space we are taking up over there. It wasn’t too long ago where we were talking about a gazebo, which sounded great in principle. Wakefield has a beautiful Bandstand, but they have the space for it. We have to be careful with the Town Common because that area is small. We can’t have things that would overpower the Common like the gazebo would have. It’s a balancing act to have a great monument with people enjoying the Town Common.”
Connell said the WMC was willing to revisit the memorial’s size.
Historical Commission Chair Kirk Mansfield asked Connell if the height of the new War Memorial will block people from viewing the Pope-Richard Lynnfield Historical Center while they are standing in front of the Meeting House.
Connell said people will be able to see the Pope-Richard Lynnfield Historical Center if they are standing on the Town Common.
Mansfield also noted the Meeting House has two large prints containing the names of Lynnfield veterans who served.
“You might want to take a look at that to see if there are any names that might be missing,” said Mansfield.
War Memorial Committee member Bruce Siegel said Squadrito has already examined the prints.
“Those names have been incorporated into our lists,” said Siegel.
Siegel thanked Connell for the work he has done on the new War Memorial.
“I want to acknowledge how much work Selectman Connell has put into this project,” said Siegel, who is also the town’s veterans services officer. “It’s incredible how dedicated and enthusiastic he has been. I want to thank him for everything he has done.”
WMC member Tom Bogart agreed.
“Joe has done an incredible job,” said Bogart. “We have been meeting for six years, and he has done great work. He has thought of everything, including the minute details.”
Crawford said he and Dalton have been impressed with Connell’s work ethic during his time serving on the Select Board.
“We have become very accustomed to Joe’s level of detail,” said Crawford. “Usually committees have chairs who put a tremendous amount of work in, and Joe is no exception. He has put his heart and soul into this project.”