2018-04-15 / Front Page

World War I memorial planned for veteran’s cemetery

SPRINGVALE — The Armistice, signaling the end of hostilities between the Allies and Germany and signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month in 1918 marked the end of four long bloody years of war in Europe. 

It has been called The War to End All Wars, and the Great War. We know it as World War I. 

Many died, more were wounded.

They were the boys who went “over the top,” from the trenches, the doughboys. They were the nurses and the doctors, who tended their wounds.

The United States entered the war in April 2017. Maine lost 1,026 men in the war, according to a proclamation marking Maine’s contribution, signed by Gov. Paul LePage a year ago. In all, 35,214 Maine men and women served in the war in all branches of service, according to the proclamation.

World War I, over for 100 years, is not a personal memory for most.

But the lives of those who died and the lives of all those who served are remembered. 

To aid in that memory, those who enter through the gates of Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Springvale later this year will see the poppies blow, as Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae, put it in the poem In Flanders Fields, 

The Southern Maine Veterans‘ Memorial Cemetery Association is working toward a memorial garden commemorating those who served in World War 1. 

The association’s vision for the memorial stemmed from McCrae’s poem, said member Penny Mills. 

Mills said the idea for the memorial came about last fall, beginning with the poppy garden. Then, the idea expanded. Students form Sanford High School and Sanford Regional Technical Center became involved.

Joe Doiron, also of the association and  who works with SRTC students on community projects, said students designed the memorial, which includes two marble crosses and a Star of David, accompanies by silhouettes of soldiers heading out to battle fromt he trenches.

Doiron said the association had to get special permission to use  the marble crosses and the Star of David. They are the exact dimensions of those in the World War I cemeteries in Belgium.

Because poppies bloom in Maine in May and June, Doiron said there will be other crimson flowers planted throughout the seasons and he back of the memorial garden will be lined with dogwoods that will highlight the silhouettes. In the fall, he pointed out, when the  dogwood foliage falls away, the stalks that remain are red in color.

Doiron said the group hopes to break ground on the memorial garden within the next few weeks.

The project cost is around $12,000. Mills said the association is accepting donations, which may be mailed to: SMVMCA,  P. O Box 583, Springvale, Me 04083, with WWI memorial listed on the memo line of  the check.

 More information about SMVMCA and their current projects can be found at: http://www.southernmaineveteranscemetery.org/wpress, or on their Facebook page.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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