Trees of Honor for Connecticut’s Iraq, Afghanistan Fallen Heroes
by: Jacqueline Bennett
“May they never be forgotten.”
Plans are underway for a Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial, Inc. to pay homage to Connecticut’s military men and women who died in service to the nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Initiated by a small group of citizens, currently looking for a 3 acre site in central Connecticut, the living memorial is envisioned as a “beautifully designed space” of serenity and reflection, to include a shade tree planted for each Connecticut military member who died serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation New Dawn. A personalized plaque will be erected next to each tree and there will be walkways, flower gardens, benches, flagpoles, statues and lighting.
Wethersfield, Connecticut architect Thomas Linden of Roise Linden Land Design LLC, who has signed on to help, met October 11 with the memorial committee. They also need assistance from a lawyer in their pursuit of non-profit status for the endeavor but do already have an accountant working on the 501 3c paperwork.
The magnitude of their project is countered for this group by passion for what they aim to accomplish.
“As I look back I guess we have moved farther than I thought. We are ‘green around the gills’ with regards to legalities and are using other’s expertise to guide us. I have never plowed into something of this magnitude so it is overwhelming at times and we try to work on small segments so we don’t get discouraged…….passion, we have,” said Ann Walsh, a memorial committee member from Windsor, Connecticut.
A few months ago, a letter was mailed to area towns inquiring about a parcel of land for the memorial. To date, the committee has heard back from Middletown ,Winsted, Windsor and Norwich. In the coming weeks, they will begin meeting with leaders from those towns and hope to still get more responses. According to Walsh, a confirmed site is needed by the end of this November because the goal is to construct the memorial in 2012.
“We do have the blessings of Gold Star families,” noted Walsh, referring to families who have lost a loved one in the conflicts.
What they do not yet have is “seed money” for the project. However, a pasta dinner fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, November 4 at Elks Lodge#2060, 130 Deerfeild Road, Windsor. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.- adults $12, children age 10 and under $5. There will be raffle prizes and a 50/50 drawing.
To reserve seating contact Sue Martucci at email@example.com or 860-841-4287; Ann Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-806-2662; Nancy Rousselle at email@example.com or 860-966-8178. Checks can be made payable to- CTHM,Inc c/o Maureen Dowd-Treas, P.O. Box 234, Windsor, CT 06095.
And, there are more ways to get involved. Much appreciated would be trees donated by nurseries, wholesalers and retailers, adoption of a garden by garden clubs that are asked to submit a design plan then subsequently maintain their garden, and by becoming a monetary sponsor or volunteer. For more information go to http://www.connecticuttreesofhonormemorial.org