This Veterans Day –and especially on December 12- the people of Newington, Connecticut will honor their fallen heroes at the town’s newly refurbished veterans memorial, thanks to the work and dedication of Jacob Sirois.
Jacob, who is a member of Newington Boy Scout Troop 347, was determined to restore splendor to the memorial at West Meadow Cemetery where many local veterans are buried, while working toward achieving his Eagle Scout rank.
“I don’t want people to look at this as Jacob Sirois’ Eagle Scout project, but instead as a tribute to the men and women who served our country,” Jacob explains to Erica Schmitt of the New Britain Herald and The Bristol Press. “Seeing these flagpoles in disrepair upset me, so I thought I’d fix it.”
Now, eight new flags representing each branch of the military plus the Connecticut state flag and a POW-MIA flag wave on flagpoles at an appropriate height, anchored visually by the addition of eight corresponding black granite plaques.
Mike Sirois tells us that Jacob contacted local authorities about improving the memorial, getting monetary support from the Sequin–Level Lodge No. 140 Masons and the American Legion May-Davis-Stotzer Post 117. “Jacob also raised the flagpoles to 16 feet and he contacted companies about making memorial plaques.” One of those companies is PlaqueMaker, which created the black granite memorial plaques for Jacob and his project. With help from his fellow troop members, family and friends, Jacob also planted yellow chrysanthemums at the site.
Recently, the personal stories of all 29 soldiers whose names are inscribed on the veterans memorial were researched and revealed to the public. Local law enforcement and U.S. Army retiree James Murphy Jr. scoured the Connecticut State Library, U.S. Military Overseas Cemeteries, the CT Adjutant General’s Office as well as the local Lucy Robbins Welles Library and Newington High School for the solders’ histories who served in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, profiling each in a pamphlet that includes their name, age, military rank, location and date of death, burial place and photos (if available).
By tradition, Boy Scouts and Newington High School Key Club students carry red roses to the memorial as each name is read and a bell is tolled during Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies. In addition, Wreaths Across America will decorate veterans’ graves at cemeteries across the country on December 12, including Newington’s West Meadow Cemetery.
“You can see the project came out beautifully. The veterans can’t wait to see this year’s wreath ceremony in December,” Mike Sirois says. “Thank you for all your help with Jacob’s project.”
You’re welcome, Mike -and Jacob. It is our honor.
Veterans Memorial – Before