Restored veterans memorial will be rededicated Nov. 11

Shawn Hardy
Billy Wright, left, and Rick Freeman Jr. of Greencastle Bronze and Granite guided a restored panel of the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial as it was lowered into place by a crane Tuesday morning. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT.

Six months after two damaged panels were shipped to Ohio for restoration and more than a year after it was vandalized with spray paint, the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial again stands intact at Greencastle Borough Hall.

The memorial, erected in 2008, honors local residents who gave their lives from the Revolutionary War through the present.

In commemoration of its 10th anniversary, the memorial will be rededicated during the Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11.

Damage and repair 

The memorial was damaged during a vandalism spree in the summer of 2017.

Volunteers were unsuccessful in getting the blue paint off the two panels on the half of the granite memorial covering the Revolutionary War to World War II. In addition to the names of those killed, the panels are finely etched with scenes from the war and the time period.

The two panels had to be sanded and polished twice to remove all the paint, according to Rick Freeman Sr. of Greencastle Bronze and Granite, which coordinated the repair project.

The two panels were carefully lifted off their base in April and just as carefully returned on Tuesday. They weigh close to a ton apiece and granite is susceptible to chipping.

Rick Freeman Sr. was at the controls of a crane that lifted each panel off the truck and lowered it onto the base as Billy Wright and Rick Freeman Jr. made sure it was perfectly aligned.

About the memorial 

The memorial was suggested by Ben Thomas Jr., then Antrim Township administrator, and a joint committee was formed in January 2007 by VFW Post 6319 and American Legion Post 373 “for the purpose of designing, funding and erecting a memorial to honor all veterans from the Greencastle-Antrim area who died in service to our country during all of America’s war and conflicts.”

More than $75,000 was raised, ground was broken on June 2, 2008, and the memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2008. Its panels run on either side of an obelisk that was placed in 1989.

When it was dedicated, the memorial bore 120 names, beginning with Revolutionary War casualties: Campbell, Dugan; Downey, Ezekial; and Sterrit, William.

It now has 121 names as it honors Bitner, Benjamin F., a U.S. Army master sergeant killed on April 23, 2011, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as the latest Greencastle-Antrim veteran “who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Thomas, now the mayor of Greencastle, will speak at the Veterans Day rededication, according to Duane Schroyer, who chaired the committee that planned and erected the memorial.