One Week Until Departure
1.) Civil War veterans were once "those soldiers returning from war," similar to the soldier faces they see coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq and living in our community as veterans from the WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War and Persian Gulf eras. No matter the service era, we should never forget.
2.) Civil War monuments, once a focal point of living groups of veterans and a symbol of their willingness to serve and the heroes we lost, face disrepair over time as memories fade. It is up to the residents of Melrose, in conjunction with the City and local veteran service organizations, to make sure these monuments retain their original honor. No matter the installation date, we should never forget.
3.) There is a connection between the names of the soldiers from the Civil War they researched and the names of the veterans they interviewed who are attending the trip. A veteran is a veteran and by researching one, they are in a way researching all. Their work is helping us to not forget.
It's an exciting week as we look forward to the trip and we start the restoration projects forming a key part of the Operation Gettysburg Club experience. The Operation Gettysburg Club raised more than $10000 to defer trip costs (for first-time veterans only) and pay for the restoration projects. Here are the projects already underway:
2.) Upgrade the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial (Wyoming Cemetery)
3.) Clean and Restore the Hesseltine Medal of Honor monument (Wyoming Cemetery)
4.) Lift and straighten the graves of Civil War veterans (Wyoming Cemetery)
5.) Highlight and clean the Baldwin Memorial (Wyoming Cemetery)
We plan to update the community as our trip progress (via Twitter @melroseVSO) and bring back pictures and stories to thank the community for their donations, volunteerism and support.
And once the trip is in the history books, we will continue to honor the Civil War in the upcoming 2014 Melrose Memorial Day Events. Our parade will march from the upgrade at Memorial Hall to the upgrades at Wyoming cemetery in addition to having the decedents of a Melrose Civil War veteran serve as our Grand Marshall.
It's a simple, but important mission - we will never forget.