War Memorial to undergo renovation, expansion

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In a wave of dedicated patriotism, local residents are working to restore the 1955 War Memorial near Priscilla Street, and honor those lost in battle since it was erected.

About 20 committee members plan to raise $150,000 for the 60-year-old monument, and quarter-acre site, to add five poles with flags representing each branch of the military, and other upgrades, said Lee Beauchamp, vice chairman of the committee.

At a fund-raiser kick off last week, state Sen. Jim Mathias and Delegate Carl Anderton spoke and lent their support.

“The interesting thing is, there is a scroll built in from when the memorial was originally constructed, that had names of all the members who died until 1955. We will pull the scroll out and see if we can add the names of those who died since then, or if we have to have a new scroll made,” Beauchamp explained.

Names of about 130 soldiers are etched on parchment.

The scroll was preserved in a tube. Committee members are consulting  with experts at the Nabb Center at Salisbury University to determine how to update it. We’d like to have a history of service members from Wicomico County who served in different branches of military,” Beauchamp said.

The project to restore the 32-foot monument and fountain also includes replacing tile, adding lighting, landscaping, irrigation, handicapped accessibility and new benches. The idea to restore the half-acre that surrounds the memorial originated with Greg Peoples, who lives nearby.

“We’re still in the early design stages. We’re deciding if there will be  a plaque on the monument,” he said. There will be additional fund-raisers and the public is being asked to donate. See the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce’s community foundation Web site.

The memorial was built by county citizens with the help of American Legion and VFW members “at a time when the heartaches and losses of some of our nation’s most hard-fought conflicts were still very fresh,” a news release about the project stated.

“It’s a pretty new project but we have had a lot of support from the citizens and the city and county. It looks like the city of Salisbury will make some kind of contributions,” Beauchamp said.

“There were years where some of it was overgrown. There were some holly trees planted there that had been pulled out. It was in disrepair. We want to improve it and establish it.”

Contact Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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