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THE ANDOVER VETERAN’S MEMORIAL WALL

Written by William A. Greene

November, 2012

                 On November 11, 2012 the Andover Central School and the Lynch – Burgett Post 397 of the American Legion had the honor to dedicate a memorial wall to all of Andover’s veterans that had served this great country of ours since the Revolutionary War until November 2012.

                Much work was done to put this together. It all started back in 1992, while placing American flags on deceased veteran’s graves. Many of the Civil War Veteran’s grave markers were in very sad shape. So I decided to see if there was any way to replace their headstones.

                Being Service Officer of the Lynch – Burgett Post 397, I knew every veteran is entitled to a military headstone. Just to make sure I called Washington. They gave me the information that I needed to order these new military markers. The next step was to find these Civil War Veterans.

                I won’t go into the complete story as it is a long one. I started with a list of 81 names of Civil War Veteran’s back in 1992 and by the end of 2002, I had close to 290. I thought that I was done but I have added 7 more since then.

                Once done with them I went on to do WWI, WWII, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Philippine War, Spanish American War, Mexican Border War, Korean War, Vietnam, Granada – Lebanon War, Panama, the Persian Gulf War and Peace Time Veterans. These were all done from the years of 2002 thru 2012. We are still finding names and are adding them as we go along.

                Now that we have all of the names and burial places, what are we going to do with them?

                In about 2003 Mr. William Berg, superintendent of Andover Central School, went to then Andover Historian Robert “Moose” Baker and threw out the idea of building a memorial wall to the Andover Veterans at the school. He said he had a wall there that would be perfect. While in the early stages of this, Robert “Moose” Baker passed away. Everything was put on hold for a couple of years and again Mr. Berg approached the Lynch – Burgett Post 397 with his idea. There wasn’t much discussion, it was agreed that this was a wonderful idea.

                A committee of Wayne Grant, Vincent Burrows and Bill “Bubba” Greene were assigned to meet with Mr. Berg. We had meetings throughout the year of 2010. We had to replace Mr. Burrows due to health reasons and Tad Manske was chosen to take his place on the committee.

                We had many ideas that were discussed but we needed some more input. Mr. Berg brought on Mr. James Ninos (art instructor) and Mr. Zack Owens (tech instructor) they were just what we needed. They were very important in the layout and in the building of the display cases.

                It wasn’t long and we were ready to start building our “Memorial”. Mr. Owen asked for volunteers from his tech classes to help in the designing and building the display cases. They were; Matt Dowd, Kyle Glenn, Warren Johannes, Pat Coyle, Alex Emery, Cody Green, Joe Bryan and Taylor Jackson. They did a wonderful job. Mr. Ninos did all of the designing, layout and printing of the names.

                I supplied the almost 1,500 name of all of the veterans of Andover. We had everything done and were ready for the dedication so everyone could see what had been accomplished.

             On November 9, 2012 a program was put on for all of the students and teachers of Andover Central School. The Andover Central School Band played old patriotic songs as the students entered the auditorium and were seated.

Veterans Day 2012 143 Colors

Then the colors were posted by the Lynch – Burgett Post 397.

Branch Flags2012 152

After that the band played the theme songs of each branch of the armed forces and as they did,

students posted each of their flags.

Veterans Day Intro 2012 139

                Mr. Berg then introduced Village Mayor Elaine Towner, Town Supervisor Gus Weber, School Board President Cynthia Vars., Allegany County Veteran’s Service Officer, Mike Hennessy and guest speaker Bill Greene.

Bill speaks 2012 161

                Mr. Greene gave a talk on the history of Veteran’s Day and then talked about his years of finding Andover veterans. And then on to the “Andover Veteran’s Memorial Wall” and then its presentation.  To end the program the story of how the song “Taps” came about was presented, then the playing of ‘Taps” thus closing the program.

                The colors and all other flags were retrieved ending the program.

                On Sunday November 11, 2012 at 5 PM the same program was presented to all of the veterans and their families and to the public. After this program the cabinets with the names were taken to their new home on the “Andover Veteran’s Memorial Wall” at the Andover Central School.

Wall of Honor2012 200

               (Above, the Public shares viewing with Veterans for the first time, Veterans Day, 2012)

WWII Vets View Wall2012 203

(Above, several WW II Veterans view the listings)

Please take the time to go and see what has been done. I think you will be very proud of the work that has gone into this project.

                Thank you Mr. Berg for your vision and help in making this all come true.

               

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