On the corner of Maple and Whiting Streets in Plainville, Connecticut, is a special place where the town honors its war veterans. Plainville residents established Veterans Memorial Park in 1945 as a way to commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought and died in American wars. Containing monuments to soldiers of two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Civil War, and Operation Desert Storm, Memorial Park provides a unique setting for the community to gather and reflect.
The first monument to arrive in the park was a statue dedicated to veterans of the Civil War. Originally proposed in 1872, it took until the early 1900s for the General Assembly to appropriate sufficient funds for the statue’s completion. The monument originally resided on property owned by the New Haven Railroad, but when the railroad sold the land for development, town officials moved the statue to Memorial Park. Standing over 22 feet tall, the granite monument of a Civil War standard-bearer rests in the southeast corner of the park.
The year 1943 saw the dedication of a monument to the town’s veterans of World War I and World War II. The 8-ton, quarry-faced slab of granite stands 8 feet tall and supports a pink bronze plaque listing the names of war veterans. The granite, originally donated by Parkside Monuments (then of Plainville), weathered over the latter half of the 20th century, as did the memorial’s plaque, and the town appropriated funds in 1995 to clean and restore the monument, as well as make additions and corrections to the plaque.
The town honored its Korean and Vietnam veterans with a 12-foot-high Vermont granite monument dedicated on Memorial Day in 1984. Weighing approximately 5,000 pounds, the monument features an engraved eagle across the top of the inscription that honors the men and women who served. Funding for the monument came largely from the work of veterans groups like the Brock Barnes Post of the American Legion and the Madeley Roberts Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Next to the Korea and Vietnam memorial is the last marker added to the park. Dedicated on May 27, 1991, it pays tribute to Plainville’s veterans of Operation Desert Storm. The monument features an eagle with stars over its head holding onto an olive branch and reads:
In honor of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States to preserve freedom and liberty for all.
Together, the monuments found in Veterans Memorial Park are a testament to the town’s reverence for their military veterans, and the park provides a window into changes in military memorials over time. Residents get to enjoy the park, its monuments, and scenery and historians get to study how Americans commemorated the nation’s wars during the course of the preceding century—and, someday, perhaps this one as well.