Ground broken for veterans monument

In the Ludlow area, World War I and II veterans are honored by memorials.

Other vets, and their families, however, have no monument.

That is about to change.

Construction of the Hamilton Township Veterans Memorial will begin this week, weather permitting.

The centerpiece of the more than 400-square-foot memorial at Wildcat Park will be a three- by four-foot marble monument. It will be surrounded by 672 8-by-8 inch pavers.

Each brick can be engraved with up to five lines of up to 13 characters.

“Hamilton Township veterans will go in free of charge,” Bill Blauser, president of Ludlow American Legion Post 489, said.

Others can have their names included, too.

“You don’t have to be a veteran,” Blauser said. Those who donate $100 may have engraving done on a paver in the walkway leading to the monument. Specialized engraving is available for service clubs that donate $500.

“Any donations we get are greatly appreciated,” Blauser said.

The group has raised about $11,000 so far. He estimated another $5,000 to $7,000 would finish the job.

The base of the memorial will be installed “next week,” weather permitting, Blauser said. The stone will be set in the spring and the Legion expects the entire memorial to be finished by Veterans Day next year.

That will not be the end of work there, however. “It’s an ongoing project,” Wildcat Park President Doug Zaffino said. “We designed it so someone in the military 50 years from now can be put in there.”

While many memorials are dedicated solely to the veterans, this one includes the families.

“That’s part of what makes this monument unique,” State Rep. Kathy Rapp said at the ground-breaking ceremony Friday afternoon. “As a former military wife, I can tell you families go through a lot knowing their loved ones are in harm’s way.”