Veteran's son hopes to build new monument in West Rutland - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Veteran's son hopes to build new monument in West Rutland

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It was a time to wave flags, show their patriotism and watch a parade. West Rutland citizens came together Monday for the 89th time.

They didn't forget the reason.

"We gather for the true meaning of Memorial Day, to honor the fallen military heroes," said Barbara Trepanier from the West Rutland American Legion Post 87.

But there was a special focus this year, remembering those from the greatest generation.

"World War Two Veterans please stand," said Trepanier.

Just three men were at the ceremony, a stark contrast to the hundreds that went off to war from this small community. West Rutland's population at the time was just 3,500.

In the 40's West Rutland was a town of first generation Americans, many of their parents came from Poland and other European nations.

"Those people in the old country were people we knew, we had to do whatever we could to protect them as well as ourselves," said Mary Recnik from the WW2 Memorial Committee.

To honor those who served their country, a remembrance wall with 472 names was put up during the war.

"It was right in front of this flagpole one time," said Ken Heleba from the WW2 Memorial Committee.

Heleba remembers it as a child. It lasted in front of the high school until the 70's when the wooden wall was in such bad shape that they had to take it down.

"I forgot about it for a long time," said Heleba.

Heleba's dad was on the list and he's passionate about building a new monument. The new one will be in front of the town hall.

The cost of the project is $60,000. All of the money is coming from private donations. So far they've raised $3,000.

Henry (Red) Sutkowski was born in West Rutland and served in the Army during the war; his name was on the list.

"It brings back memories and gives the people to honor their Veterans," said Sutkowski.

Heleba is on a mission, it's a personal project that he hopes will be completed by next year.

"It's a good thing we're doing this," said Heleba.

It's a tribute to those who have died and the handful that are still alive.

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