After tremendous community effort and support, the formal Veterans Memorial Dedication and fun-filled Community Celebration will take place Saturday, May 17 at Dorset Park. Without a doubt, this date will be an honorable and memorable day in history for South Burlington.
Plan for a full afternoon of reflection, games, food, laughter, music, exercise, education and of course, gratitude for those who valiantly served protecting our nation.
To understand how it all began, rewind to over four years ago: resident Jay Zaetz approached then City Manager Chuck Hafter asking how the City honors its veterans. With no formal memorial in place, Zaetz and Deputy City Manager Tom Hubbard — who, at the time, was the director of the Recreation and Parks Department—came together with several residents to form the Veterans Committee and to jump-start the journey to create South Burlington’s Veterans Memorial site.
The committee approved three monuments (designed by local artists) for the project at Dorset Park: an over sized dog tag, a 10 ft. cylinder commemorating the theaters of wars, and a large granite monument with the American eagle emblem and insignias of all branches of service. Resident Lisa Levite added another element to the memorial in 2012 with the introduction of the Pathway of Honor paver project, a brick pathway of personalized pavers that connect all three monuments.
Funds were raised entirely via in-kind donations and contributions from businesses and individuals. By last November, when the three monuments and paver project were put in place, the Veterans Memorial Committee had raised nearly $180,000, according to Zaetz. Approximately $100,000 was contributed in cash donations and paver payments, and about $75,000 were in-kind donations. All funds went directly to the memorial.
The Veterans Memorial Dedication and Community Celebration begins May 17 at 2 p.m. The formal dedication will kick off in proper fashion. St. Andrew’s Bagpipe Band will cue the event’s start, followed by the Color Guard ceremony by the Vermont National Guard. Veterans will be recognized at the event; honored guests and speakers will include Major General Steven Cray, adjutant general; Rep. Helen Head, Chair - Military Affairs Committee; and Command Sergeant Major Paul Edwards of the Vermont National Guard. Also recognized will be the contributors and partners who helped make the memorial possible. City Council Chair Pam Mackenzie and City Manager Kevin Dorn will follow with the official proclamation and the unveiling of a new sign.
Also included will be an Invocation by Chaplin Kurt Geib, the National Anthem sung by Gary Moreau, SBHS Chamber Singers performances, the placing of the wreath by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and in honor of fallen heroes, VTANG will provide a 21 Gun Salute followed by Taps.
At 3 p.m., after the conclusion of the dedication, the Community Celebration begins! With activities galore, and patriotic band music there will never be a dull moment for the rest of the afternoon. Join in the fun with the activities planned for the community by the South Burlington Recreation and Parks department.
3 - 5:30 p.m.Patriotic Music and Entertainment at the Band Shell
Bounce Castle and Obstacle Course inflatables
Climbing wall courtesy of VTANG
Carnival games with the RecreationDepartment Staff
Craft booth with the Coalition for Community Service of SBHS
Face Painting and Tattoos with Face Mania
Book Mobile with the Community Library
Musical entertainment by theSBHS Chamber Singers
Four sports activities
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Musical entertainment by the Don Campbell Band
7 - 8 p.m.Ice Skating at Cairns Arena
Dorset Park will have limited parking available; there will be shuttle busses running directly between South Burlington High School and Dorset Park starting at 1:20 p.m. There will also be shuttle service for all senior living facilities in South Burlington to and from the park. Each facility will have specific schedules posted the week of May 12.In the event of inclement weather, the rain date is May 18 at 2 p.m.
Don’t miss the springtime celebration of a lifetime here in South Burlington!
Veterans Memorial Committee:
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent