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Beautifying the World War I monument

From left: Linda Gaynor, Al Taubenberger, Bill Dolbow, Heather Miller, Pam Baranackie, Gary Grisafi, Rep. Jared Solomon, Walt MacBride
Boy Scouts Troop 160
Jonathan Matthews, Al Taubenberger

State Rep. Jared Solomon, former City Councilman Al Taubenberger, Boy Scouts Troop 160 and others celebrated upgrades to the World War I monument at Cottman, Oxford and Rising Sun avenues on Memorial Day.

The monument was recently power washed and includes new lighting, planters, American flags and a plaque that reads, “Honoring Burholme’s Sacrifice in World War I.”

Solomon and Taubenberger thanked community members Pam Baranackie, Gary Grisafi, Bill Dolbow and Heather Miller for their help during the process.

Troop 160 has cared for the monument since it was dedicated more than 90 years ago. Jonathan Matthews, of Pack 160, placed a wreath high on the monument, with a boost from Troop 160 committee chairman Bob MacMillan. Troop 160 also played Taps and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Solomon described the monument as hard to access, adding that passersby couldn’t tell it honors local World War I participants. He said more improvements are to come.

“We’ve got a start today,” he said.

Taubenberger pointed to the significance of the intersection, recalling the Union troop muster in the Civil War in 1861 and the men and one woman from Burholme whose names are on the monument for their service in World War I. He likes the improvements made and hopes for more.

“It’s a start, and we’ll continue to work,” he said.

A state grant paid for most of the improvements. The city hosted a meeting on proposed changes to the monument in February 2020, but nothing has come of that discussion.

Estimates to fix the concrete or add a sculpture of a Doughboy, the nickname for American World War I infantrymen, to the top of the monument are costly. ••

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