Milford veteran memorial approved as community rallies

A war memorial had residents ready to fight on Monday night.
It was a room full of war stories as a battle raged over the building of a veterans memorial.

Like Milford native Eric Galbraith, just back from three years service in the Army.

"I'm a combat veteran," said Eric Galbraith. "I know what it's like to see a battlefield cross in a combat zone. That's something that really strikes home to me."

But while each vet has their own tale, they came to the council meeting in Milford on Monday to tell one story.

They want to see a battlefield cross added to the veterans memorial at Central Park.  A symbol dating back to the Civil War marking the loss of life in war.

The idea came about three years ago by a veteran from Milford.

"I decided we needed to do something," said veteran Bear Hall. "So we slowly started raising money. And about $750 over two years."

That total raised to $12,000, Hall added.

 But he hit a road block with needing council's approval. So he put out a call and it was answered. Dozens of veterans overflowed the chambers because they heard a council member took issue with the depiction of a weapon in the proposed memorial.

"Did anybody ask me if I was opposed to it," said Jerry Aubry, council president. "I just commented about the gun."

And with the location of a new memorial was an issue quickly laid to rest.

"I was wrong in my statement with the proper location," said Thomas Nader, council member. "I thought it had to be at the entrance of the cemetery."

It was clear early on that the people in the audience were willing to fight for their position.

"That war memorial of a fallen soldier has got to be placed there," said one woman at the meeting. "We need, as residents and parents of the next generation, an opportunity to show our children and discuss with them the importance of the sacrifice that was made."

And in a move that seemed to surprise most, a council member put the issue on the agenda. Then by popular demand, the move was approved unanimously.

It was a move that seemed to restore the pride in a city known by veterans to be a patriotic place to call home.

"I've been to a number of ceremonies here," said Galbraith. "It's a very special place to us."

The issue went from being off the agenda to being put up for a vote. 

The memorial is expected to be up in six to eight weeks.

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