PEPPERELL -- The Global War on Terror Monument Committee met on the morning of Nov. 11 to discuss their next steps forward in erecting a memorial commemorating all Pepperell military members who have served the country during the post-Sept. 11, 2001 conflicts.
The committee was originally founded by members of the Pepperell Army Community Covenant in hopes of turning the reins over to the veterans whom the memorial would be honoring; it now consists largely of veterans and active duty military members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"The VFW already pledged $1,000 and the Men's Auxiliary already pledged $1,000, so that's $2,000 already to get a head start," said Community Covenant member Tony Saboliauskas.
Several ideas were mentioned about possible locations, such as near the Vietnam War memorial outside of the VFW post, another location near Town Hall or next to the rotary. Any location will have to be approved by the Board of Selectmen. Stephen Themelis, who serves both on the Board of Selectmen and as the chairman of the Community Covenant, was present at the meeting.
"I don't think there are going to be any issues with any of those locations," he said.
The big item up for discussion was the criteria for including the names on the monument, especially with the war still ongoing.
"I would suggest being as inclusive as you possibly can," said Saboliauskas. "That's going to be the hardest part, I think, is deciding. You're probably
Army First Sgt. Eric Vogelsang suggested avoiding the prospect of offending someone by leaving off names altogether, but rather dedicating the monument to "veterans of the global war on terror."
"Those veterans know who they are. We've all served. I don't necessarily need to see my name on it," he said. "To me, it's not about me or my name. It's about the overall recognition."
Other members agreed with the idea.
"That way, it gives everyone recognition, not just people from town," said Marine Cpl. Kevin Hayes.
"It would certainly leave more funds for the monument itself," said Saboliauskas. "Engraving is the most expensive part."
For those who wished to have their loved ones honored, the suggestion was raised of selling bricks to individual parties that could be engraved and then inlaid in the ground around the monument.
"It could be tied into your fundraising campaign," said Themelis.
The group hopes to have the monument completed within a year.
"If we have it next year for Veterans Day, that'd be great," said Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Connolly. "But if we have it figured out by this summer, that'd be even better."
On Nov. 13, the committee appeared before the Pepperell Board of Selectmen to discuss their cause. Selectmen advised the group to schedule a future meeting with Town Administrator John Moak over whether it would be more prudent to become a town committee or remain a private committee. A town committee would require a certain structure, to be overseen by the selectmen, whereas remaining a private committee would allow them more freedom. If the group decided to become a nonprofit organization, they could then gift the monument to the town.
"We'll recognize and gladly work with you, but it may be more simple for you guys to work as your own private committee," said Selectman Michael Green.
The group will be meeting again Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. at the VFW Post.