Milford will rededicate World War II park

MILFORD – The 13 Milford men who lost their lives in World War II now have some of the recognition they deserve.

Next to each of the 13 names engraved on the monument in the town’s World War II Memorial Park is a newly engraved gold star signifying the man’s sacrifice.

And at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7 the town will celebrate and rededicate the park at a ceremony that will include the laying of wreaths by the descendants of most of the 13 men.

The park was created shortly after the war, and 13 trees were planted, one for each of the men who died,

But until now, there was no way to tell who among the 553 service members from Milford had lost their lives.

In the 1990s a monument was installed with the engraved names of all 553, and a few weeks ago the Milford Garden Club had gold stars engraved next to each of the 13 names and a new bronze plaque explains the significance of the monument and the stars.

The 13 arborvitae trees, considered dangerously overgrown and at the end of their lifespan, were replaced with new trees, the memorial wall was cleaned, trees were pruned and roses planted.

The newly refurbished park is the work of the World War II Memorial Park Committee, the Milford Garden Club and the town of Milford.

“It’s been a joint community effort,” said committee Chairwoman Carolina Lambalot, of the Milford Garden Club. “The town has done a magnificent job.”

Genealogical searches, with the help of Mary Ann Shea, of the Wadleigh Memorial Library, and Valerie Beaudrault, found descendents for 10 of the men, although none for William Maxwell, George Kimball and Howard Sanford.

Living memorial

The park is located at the corner of Elm and Union streets, just off the Milford Oval, and the land once held a blacksmith shop and was eventually given to the town.

At the March 1947 town meeting voters recommended that the town develop the property as a World War II memorial.

In 1948 the Milford Garden Club planted the 13 trees as a living memorial, but it was not until 1994 that Milford’s chief of police, Steven Sexton, designed the granite memorial wall listing the names of all the men and women from Milford who served during the war. The Milford Garden Club laid out the flower beds and continues to tend them.

Among those expected at the ceremony are the Milford Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander John Raymond, Milford Emergency Services Chaplain Gary Williams, state Rep. and selectmen’s Chairman Gary Daniels, the Hudson American Legion Band, and keynote speaker Lt. Col. Sarah Jackson, of the U.S. Air Force.

There will be refreshments and a reception on the Community House lawn, across the street, after the ceremony.

Substantial grants from the Arthur L. Keyes Memorial Trust and The Kaley Foundation made the project possible. Donors include Milford Garden Club, Alene Candles, Shaw’s Supermarket, Milford Garden Club, Alene Candles, Shaw’s Supermarket, Monadnock Mountain Spring Water, Mary Kelly Carter, Pete Basiliere, and Marilyn Ciardelli, who gave in honor of her cousin Theodore E. Hutchinson.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com. ?