Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
The spire is 11 feet 4 inches in height. The overall height, including the first and second base, is 18 feet. It is the Memorial Monument located in the Millinocket Cemetery. Dedicated in September of 1947, this imposing monument was erected in honor of those veterans who had given their lives in the First and Second World wars.
The monument was placed in position by Francis C. Leith and his assistants, Frank Fish and Raymond Bibbs, of Barre, Vermont, under the direction of Norman Rogerson of the Rogerson Monumental Company of Houlton of whom the Memorial was purchased.
Funds for the monument ($4000) were raised by the local Gold Star Mothers under the auspices of the American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Veterans of Foreign Wars local chapter had been organized soon after WWII.
The unveiling and dedication would take place at the cemetery on Sunday afternoon, September 24, 1947. Cars would be furnished to transport the Gold Star Mothers to the ceremony. This information is from a news article published in the local paper the week before the dedication.
The Gold Star Mothers national organization was formed in 1928 for mothers of those lost in World War I. Its name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a service flag in the windows of their homes. The service flag had a star for each family member in the Armed Forces. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives in combat were represented by a gold star. The tradition continues today.
At the base of the memorial are the words: TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS THEY LEFT BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE, DEDICATED BY THE CITIZENS OF MILLINOCKET TO HER SONS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES UN WORLD WAR I and WWII
Honor rolls listing veterans of various wars are commonplace in most New England towns. At one time, Millinocket’s honor roll was located on the lawn at the Central Street side of the original Stearns High School. The museum has two small (poor quality) snapshots of this honor roll. One has no date and is labeled Veterans Monument 1941-1945. It shows three panels of names and appears to be set on a large concrete block. The other is dated 1949.
Veteran’s Park has a more recent Veteran’s Memorial. The first portion was placed in 1987 and since has had additions to the memorial that now contains the names of veterans from WWI, WW2, Korea and Vietnam. Names continue to be placed on this memorial.