By KAITLYN NAPLES
Pending approval from the city’s Park Commission Wednesday evening, and fundraising efforts, there is expected to be a new monument installed on Memorial Boulevard by April 2015. There is a group of individuals who are proactively trying to raise funds to install a Revolutionary War monument on the south side of Memorial Boulevard, which would be the final monument to cover all of the wars the nation has seen up until now.
“The thought was that the nation’s first war should be represented on that noulevard and the heroes should be remembered,” said Tom Angels, a Revolutionary War reenactor and an active member of the group trying to accomplish the goal of installing the new monument.
The group of six received the blessing of the Veterans’ Council last Wednesday, so now it can begin fundraising for the monument, which is expected to cost about $50,000. The monument will stand 10 feet 8 inches high and about 5 feet in width at the base. It will be made of a dark black granite stone and will have a three dimensional figure of a Minuteman, or a member of the militia America provided during the Revolutionary War. The monument will also include, as of right now, the names of 13 Bristol residents who fought and died during the Revolutionary War.
Tom LaPorte, a member of the group, said the monument will only have the names of Bristol residents who fought and died during the war, and if any others come up during the planning process the names will be researched and added if they are legitimate.
After this monument is added, it will join the Civil War, the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War monuments that line the South Side and World War I monument which stands in the rotary on Memorial Boulevard.
Tim Gamache, member of the Veterans’ Council, said he was “thoroughly impressed with the design of the new monument,” and said the Veterans’ Council is ready to help in any way they can.
“It will be a beautiful addition,” and it makes the boulevard complete by representing all of the major conflicts Bristol residents fought and died in. He said there is no other Revolutionary War monument in Bristol that displays the names of the Bristol soldiers who died in the battle.
Ideally, the monument would be officially installed by April 19 of next year, which would mark the date of when the first shots were fired signifying the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
LaPorte said he wants to do the same kind of fundraiser that happened in 1865 when funds were being raised for the Civil War monument, which stands at West Cemetery. He said that year residents of Bristol were asked to donate $1 to the monument to cover the cost of constructing it. He said $1,500 was raised just through that effort alone.
“We have about 60,000 people in Bristol so if enough residents made that contribution it would stimulate our fundraising efforts,” LaPorte said.
Other ways the group is seeking donations is from individuals, larger corporations in the city and also smaller businesses. LaPorte said all donations will be tax deductible and will be held onto by the Bristol Veterans’ Council until the monument is ready to be paid for. Anyone interested in making a donation should mail it to the Bristol Veterans’ Council, P.O. Box 2634, Bristol CT 06011-2634.
Stephanie England, owner of England Family Monument Co. in Bristol, said the entire monument should take about five months to construct.
The individuals who are involved in this effort to bring the new monument to Bristol are: Tom LaPorte, Tom Angels, Stephanie England, Paul Nichols (of Precision Threaded Products), Deanne Levesque (Daughters of the American Revolution member who wrote a book about the Revolutionary War and its Bristol soldiers), Murdo Smith (active in community projects), and Korean War Veteran Bob Barnett.
By KAITLYN NAPLES