Wednesday, April 16, 2014
LIVERMORE FALLS -- Decades of research and work will be recognized this morning, Pearl Harbor Day, when upgrades to a downtown World War II monument are unveiled.
Two brass plaques listing the 726 men and women from Livermore and Livermore Falls who served in World War II will be dedicated at the monument at Geneva Hodgkins Memorial Park. The service, which is open to the public, starts at 7:55 a.m., the time in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked Dec. 7, 1941.
Don Simoneau, of Fayette, who has spent about 20 years on the project, said he's worked on the monument in his hometown to show his appreciation. Simoneau, 60, is an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War.
"It's my dad's generation, and it's something we need to do to make sure they know we appreciate all they did for us," Simoneau said. "And that's really what it comes down to."
The original monument, made of wood, was erected in 1943 but fell into disrepair in the 1960s, so it was replaced with the existing granite one, Simoneau said. The monument, however, remained unfinished, with portions on either side blank.
Relying on enhanced photos of the original monument and research at the state archive, Simoneau has been searching for the missing names the last two decades.
This morning, bronze tablets will be placed on either side, bearing the 727 missing names in alphabetical order.
Simoneau expects several dozen veterans to attend from Maine and beyond. The ceremony will last about 45 minutes and include the singing of the "The Star Spangled Banner," a rifle squad and a bugle call. Wreaths will be laid for 19 local people killed in action, and their names are identified with stars on the monument.
After the service, there will be a gathering with coffee and doughnuts at the nearby George Bunten Post 10 American Legion hall.