Milford selectmen want consensus on Vietnam memorial

MILFORD – A plan for a Vietnam memorial at the entrance to Keyes Park needs more public input, selectmen told members of the memorial committee last week.

Chairman Jerry Guthrie was looking for the board’s approval so they can have a capital reserve fund article on the town warrant next March and begin collecting donations.

The memorial would be located to the east of the park entrance and the cap over the former Superfund site and across from Cottage Street.

It’s a new plan, scaled down from the 40-foot long granite memorial wall that was brought to the board last year. Guthrie, a retired landscape architect and Vietnam veteran, and community development Director Lincoln Daley described the memorial as 15 feet long and five-feet high, with one side dedicated to people at home and the other side dedicated to those fighting in Vietnam. Engraved writing would give a history of the war, including the Tet offensive, and tell what was happening in the U.S. between 1959 and 1975, including the three assassinations and the killing of students by National Guard soldiers at Kent State.

A plaque and a tree would be dedicated to Sgt. Roger McAllister Jr., a Milford soldier killed in combat. The memorial would flow naturally into the Korean memorial, Daley said.

A water feature would represent the Pacific Ocean and muffle traffic noises, Guthrie said, and there would be LED lighting. Plans for a War on Terror memorial would be ready in October, he said.

The Vietnam memorial plan was partly based on surveys of residents who said they wanted the size and scale similar to the nearby Korean memorial, and they also liked the idea of walkways, lighting and a water feature.

Resident Jay Duffy objected to the design, telling the board it’s too complex and would be expensive to maintain and overshadow the Korean Memorial, which he said would be a disgrace.

A Vietnam “war memorial is far overdue,” he said, but pictures aren’t a good idea. “I heard a number of people say they don’t want to relive the war.”

Before he died, said Duffy, former selectman and World War II veteran Rosario (Sarooch) Ricciardi said he wanted a simple Vietnam memorial.

Selectman Paul Dargie said the board should make sure there’s a consensus in town, especially among Vietnam veterans.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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