Granby’s new veterans memorial.
Reminder Publishing file photo

GRANBY — May 26 served as the official grand opening for the Granby Veteran’s Memorial where a large gathering of the community came together to honor the Memorial Day holiday and the residents of Granby who have served their country.

The park showcases a stone wall monument decorated with plaques engraved with hundreds of names of Granby veterans, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War and more recently up to the war in Afghanistan. The memorial has been built on an elevated site at the corner of State and North streets with materials and labor donated by community members.

Also featured at the new memorial is a tank donated from Fort Devens and a flower garden, as well as newly planted trees around the site. A packed crowd of Granby residents gathered for the ceremony and excitement was in the air for the new community memorial.

Sgt. Thomas Rousell, a Vietnam veteran spoke about his experience working with the town in securing the memorial and added that it has been a life mission of his to make sure veterans are recognized and taken care of when they get home from service. Rousell has served on the Memorial Committee over the past few years leading up to the completion of the project, but had been contacted for input and involved in the process over the last dozen years.

“I asked for help with this project. Nobody turned me down, and nobody owed me anything. They all said yes,” said Rousell. “We don’t have to go to Disney World to make a dream come true. Look at this beautiful park.”

The project’s completion comes following over a dozen years of planning and fundraising. A soft launch and dedication of the memorial was hosted at the memorial for Veterans Day last fall before the official ceremony this year that saw the addition of more grass, a gazebo, benches, gravel pathways and decorative flowers.
Selectboard member Crystal Dufresne called it an honor to be at the memorial’s grand opening.

“This memorial pays homage to all the men and women who answered the call and served their country,” Dufresne said. “We would not be here today if it wasn’t for all the hard work of the Granby Veterans Memorial Committee, the friends of Granby Veterans, and the Granby American Legion Post 266, as well as all the volunteers who helped along the way. Thank you to all who made this Granby Veterans Memorial Park possible.”

State Sen. Jake Oliveira (D-Ludlow) and state Reps. Dan Carey (D-Easthampton) and Mindy Domb (D-Amherst) all were in attendance for the grand opening and all shared similar sentiments about the efforts made by the Granby community in getting a memorial project like this done.

“This committee and this town have done such a marvelous job with this peaceful space to remember those who have fought and those who we’ve lost. It’s going to help, I believe, not just when we want a quiet moment of reflection here in this park but right here on 202, every time you drive by now you remember why this space is sacred, and remember our veterans throughout the year, not just this weekend,” said Carey.

According to the Granby Veterans Memorial website, veterans can be added to the memorial if they served in active duty at least one day, received an honorable discharge and lived in Granby for 10 years. Veterans killed in action will be identified with an asterisk.

Any Granby citizen who wishes to add a name to the memorial can apply on the Granby Veterans Memorial website. The full ceremony can be viewed at the Granby Community Access & Media YouTube page.