BRUNSWICK — Tom Farrell is aware that the fundraising timeline for the upcoming Brunswick Veterans Plaza is “very aggressive.”

With more than $200,000 of the needed $250,000 still left to raise, he and others in the American Legion and community are hoping to have the plaza open to the public by Veterans Day 2019 — something planners have said is already “long overdue.”

The plaza is a monument — not a memorial — designed to honor all veterans who have served the United States, regardless of rank, branch, conflict or status. The plaza was designed by Richardson and Associates, the architects of Brunswick’s Gen. Joshua Chamberlain statue and memorial.

It will incorporate the existing downtown monument, which will be turned 180 degrees, as well as a separately funded purple heart monument. Twelve sentinel posts surrounding the plaza will represent the 12 recognized major American conflicts spanning from the American Revolution through the Global War on Terror. According to Farrell, it will be the first of its kind, honoring not just a specific branch of veterans or those who lost their lives, but all who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines.

The sentinels will surround a center medallion with a graphic of an American eagle over the stars and stripes, surrounded by terms selected by local veterans: integrity, courage, respect, loyalty, valor, honor, duty, selfless service and pride. Throughout the plaza, 320 engraved granite blocks will honor specific veterans with their names, branch and dates of service or conflict, but not their rank. The blocks are for sale for $250. So far, Farrell said 78 have been purchased.

Once they started selling the honor blocks though, he said they realized that they were only honoring veterans from World War II on, as fewer people remember ancestors who served in earlier conflicts. To help with this, the group launched the “Adopt a Veteran” program. On its website, there are profiles of soldiers spanning from the Revolution to Civil War, like the Danforth brothers, Enoch Jr. and Daniel, who enlisted in the Continental Army in 1776. Both were at the 1778 battle at Cherry Valley, New York, where Enoch Jr. was taken prisoner by British forces. Both survived the war and returned to their River Road home on Rocky Hill in Brunswick.

“It honors 300 years of veterans who served our country and served every one of us,” said David Watson, Commander of American Legion Post 20 and a Brunswick Town Councilor at a recent presentation at People Plus.

The website will also soon have more than a dozen interviews with local veterans sharing their personal stories and thoughts on the new plaza. Farrell said he was “humbled” hearing their experiences, and that he hopes “people will gravitate toward (the plaza) and have a greater appreciation for what it means to serve.”

Farrell said they are launching the next part of their fundraising, which involves presentations to local organizations, as well as face-to-face meetings with business owners and individuals who they hope will be able to contribute. As of Thursday evening, they had raised $33,198 on their GoFundMe campaign.  

“We don’t want to glorify war,” but simply to acknowledge “the willingness of our neighbors … to step forward” and fight for their country, not knowing if they would come home, he said.

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