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Georgia Dedicates War Memorial - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Georgia Dedicates War Memorial

Georgia, Vermont - May 26, 2007

Parades and Memorial Day ceremonies took place all over the country this weekend on the first day of the long holiday weekend. In the town of Georgia, Vermont, residents who worked all year on a memorial to their own veterans for a year, dedicated it on Saturday.

The parade drew a record crowd for this small town. It was a time not only to honor the nation's war dead, but deliver on promises. One of those promises was that the town of Georgia would have its own war memorial. Colin Conger, the Georgia Veterans' Memorial Committee Chairman, explained, "And we said that we would basically build the monument at no cost to the taxpayers, and we would have that completed by October."

The committee that spearheaded the project waited until Memorial Day for the dedication. The monument honors Georgia residents who paid the ultimate sacrifice. A lot of them died in the Civil War. A couple more were killed in action in World War Two and Vietnam.

The walkway also contains individual slabs with the names of those who served and survived. One of those soldiers is Sgt. Chris Mesick of the Vermont Army National Guard, who found irony in seeing his own name on a monument. "It feels good to be kind of part of history with all the other soldiers," Mesick said. "But I kind of wish that some of my friends could have gotten in a monument too, the ones that didn't make it home."

A bit later, Mesick greeted Gov. Jim Douglas. The two met last year when the Governor visited Vermonters serving in Iraq. Mesick was in Task Force Saber.

"Hey, how're you doing?" Mesick said. "Remember me?" Douglas replied without hesitation, "Ramadi, about a year ago. Welcome back, we're sure glad you're here in Georgia."

The governor promised Mesick that the state will build a memorial to Vermonters who lost their lives in conflicts involving the war on terror, although Douglas was not ready to get into detail about it.

Memorial Day can be joyous and solemn at the same time. Robert Rooney, the commander at American Legion Post #1 in Saint Albans, told the crowd, "The joyous part is the parades, the barbeques, the family get-togethers. I think the solemn part is where we really need to take a little bit of time and think of the people that have given their lives in defense of this country."

That's the purpose of the monument, as well as Memorial Day itself.

Andy Potter - WCAX News.  

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