Vietnam memorial plans called ‘overdone,”

MILFORD – Plans for a Vietnam War memorial on the Fletcher Superfund site should be vetted by a committee and have a public airing.

That was the consensus of town officials last week after Jerry Guthrie, a retired landscape architect and Vietnam veteran, showed his drawings of a 40-foot-long memorial wall to the town Recreation Commission.

Engravings on the wall tell the story of the war from its beginning until the fall of Saigon, and there is also a war on terror section, with a timeline from 2001-20. On the wall’s opposite side are engravings illustrating American values such as freedom and education.

“It might be too much, but it’s important to get the big idea out there,” Guthrie told the commission.

Resident Jay Duffy said it would overshadow the adjacent Korean War memorial and that a waterfall and other features would require expensive long-term maintenance.

“I think it’s extremely overdone … simple is best,” he said, suggesting instead a small map of Vietnam and the names of Milford High School graduates who served in the war.

Rodney DellaFelise, of the Fletcher Cap Committee, suggested that a new committee do research and come up with a proposal that is acceptable to veterans groups and the general public, and then put the plan before voters.

Janet Langdell, of the Planning Board, and Mark Fougere, the Recreation Commission’s liaison to the selectmen, agreed.

“This has to be a public process,” Fougere said.

The commission praised Guthrie’s work and suggested he publicize it at the July Fourth and the pumpkin festivals.

Guthrie, who said the goal was to build it without taxpayer money, went to the meeting to ask that two accounts be set up to receive donations for the project. Langdell suggested working with one of the numerous nonprofits in town to get a tax benefit.

The memorial, along with an amphitheater and parking, would be on top of the Fletcher Paint Superfund site on Elm Street.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or