PEPPERELL -- "All gave some, some gave all." This was the prevailing theme of much of the discussion at the Global War on Terrorism Monument Committee's monthly meeting on Saturday. The committee voted to solidify their mission statement, incorporating the phrase that has come to represent military service nationwide.
Army Sgt. First Class Mike Levesque submitted the statement for approval after Lee Rich of Dario Designs suggested at last month's meeting that the statement should incorporate a personal point of view of the committee members who served in the military.
The finalized mission statement reads "GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) is an organization of Pepperell-area veterans dedicated to the construction and preservation of a public monument honoring those veterans who have served in Theater Post 9/11 and were awarded a campaign medal. GWOT recognizes the invaluable support given and sacrifices made by the families and the communities of those who have served, as well as the premise that 'all gave some, some gave all.'"
The fundraising subcommittee is beginning the process of organizing a banquet at the VFW. Member Jean Connolly suggested the venue, which is free for members. She booked the hall for the tentative date of April 6, but is waiting to hear back from Post Commander Bob Hill on the tentative date of March 16. Lorri and Chapel Guarnieri of Pepperell also volunteered a barn on their property for a Memorial Day fundraising event.
During design brainstorming, the committee also discussed incorporating the concept of "All gave some, some gave all" into the monument itself, including potentially engraving the words on the monument. As part of a brainstorming session, Chairman Bobby Connolly mentioned that, although he's not sold on the idea for the design, a particularly powerful image of his time overseas is of a comrade hanging dog tags on a field cross. The idea of a field cross was discussed at last month's meeting, but several members were hesitant about the concept. The committee plans for the memorial to represent all veterans, living and deceased, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; field crosses represent lives lost in action.
"I'm for and against a field cross. It does make more people think of the deceased than it does of the living," said Connolly.
However, the inclusion of the military member standing in remembrance may be a way to incorporate the living.
"It's a field cross, but it's not at the same time," said Marine Cpl. Kevin Hayes.
Hayes said the emotion he hoped to evoke with the monument was partly in memory of those who lost their lives overseas, but also a message of carrying on.
"I want to stop and reflect and remember everything that happened, and the fallen. But I want to remember when I'm leaving. I want to live my life to the fullest. It's good to remember you've also got to live for them at end of the day," said Hayes.
Marine Sgt. Adam Taylor said although he didn't feel strongly one way or the other, field crosses can generally be associated with any war.
Other ideas included incorporating five paths to the monument, one representing each branch of the military, and adding ghost images of Iraq and Afghanistan to the background of the monument. Rich suggested incorporating geography.
"I like the idea of being able to visit the monument and ask a soldier who's there, 'Where were you?'"
The committee agreed to take a field trip to the tentative site adjacent to the rotary at next month's meeting for inspiration. Prior to that, the committee is planning to contact the Board of Selectmen to be put on its Jan. 14 meeting agenda to ask for approval to use the location.
The committee is also moving forward with becoming a 501c3 nonprofit organization, currently waiting on its attorney.