Category Archives: memorial

Apremont Memorial Park (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: July 3, 2017, November 11, 2017

Location: 707 Southampton Rd, Westfield, MA

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day

Parking: There is room for about half a dozen cars at the entrance to the park

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Apremont Memorial Park

Highlights: memorial to the The

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Once the training site of the Massachusetts State Militia (then called Hampton Plains) some 112 years ago, Apremont Park is now the home to a memorial dedicated to the 104th U.S. Infantry.  After  World War I broke out, the site was reactivated for the 104th Infantry Regiment of the 26th Yankee Division and was renamed Camp Bartlett.

The 104th Infantry Regiment has a storied past that dates back to November 14, 1639 when it was first mustered as the Springfield Train Band.  They would go on to be incorporated as part of the Hampshire County Massachusetts Militia.  They would also serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolution and in the Civil War as part of the Union Army as well as many other campaigns such as the Spanish-American War and both World Wars.  The last active element of the regiment, the 1st Battalion, was deactivated in 2005 and the soldiers and lineage transferred to the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment.  But, their legacy still remains, particularly at this memorial.

I made two visits to this park; one in July of this year and today.  I enjoy seeing the differences in the park from the different seasons.

In August 17, 1917, 13,000 troops from the National Guard organization of New England camped out for 14 weeks; then the 104th Infantry left for France to compile a record of outstanding bravery. There is a bronze plaque set in from of the monuments of the General Passage of France decorating the colors of the 104th Infantry during World War I. The park is named after a small French town of Apremont, which was defeated and saved by the 104th Infantry.

Inscribed on the memorial is:

FOR GREATEST FIGHTING SPIRIT AND SELF SACRIFICE DURING ACTION OF APRIL 10, 12 AND 13 1918.  SUFFERING FROM VERY HEAVY BOMBARDMENTS AND ATTACKED BY VERY STRONG GERMAN FORCES THE 104TH INFANTRY SUCCEEDED IN PREVENTING THEIR DANGEROUS ADVANCE, AND WITH GREATEST ENERGY RECONQUERED, AT THE POINT OF THE BAYONET , THE FEW RUINED TRENCHES WHICH HAD TO BE ABANDONED AT THE FIRST ONSET, AT THE SAME TIME MAKING PRISONERS.

Also inscribed on the memorial is the name of the infantry that was organized on the spot (the 104th Regiment Infantry) and a description of their background.

I originally photographed this monument on July 3rd.  But, after doing my research on the memorial, I noticed I had missed some interesting and important parts of the memorial.  During my original photo shoot, I missed these parts of the memorial.  I think the flowers that were once in bloom in July hid them from my view during my initial visit.  This was not the case when I came back to visit earlier today.

There are benches near the memorial for quiet reflection and markers to memorialize their efforts in World War I and World War II.  The park is also used to honor veterans on special occasions such as the Fourth of July and other special events.  I did not see any other people at the park during my visit today.

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There is also a memorial honoring those who served in the 104th Infantry Regiment during World War II.

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Another memorial lays to the left of the entrance of the park.

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Thank you to all the veterans of the 104th Infantry and all of the veterans who have served our country.

 


The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge (Simsbury, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 10, 2017

Location: 1 Old Bridge Rd, Simsbury, CT (about half an hour northwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Available 24 hours a day

Cost: Free (but donations are appreciated)

Parking: There is room for about a dozen or so cars in the parking lot off Old Bridge Rd

Handicapped Accessible: No, There are some poles at the entrance to the bridge to prevent vehicles from driving onto the bridge and I am not sure if wheelchairs could get past them (see photo below).

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Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers strategically placed on a bridge, scenic, historical landmark

Website: Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge

Tips:

  • parking is located on located on Old Bridge Rd off Drake Hill Rd.  There’s no parking located at the entrance by Riverside Rd
  • popular place for weddings, engagements and portrait photography

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There’s more than one “bridge of flowers” in New England.

Inspired by the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA, the Old Drake Bridge Of Flowers, is by no means as long or as flowery as the Bridge Of Flowers in Shelburne, MA.  Yet, what it lacks in length and variety of flowers it makes up for in charm.

Each section of the bridge is decorated with various flowers.  The bridge has 32 baskets and 48 boxes, some of which were built and added by an Eagle Scout, filled with flowers of an array of colors. The flowers bloom from late May to October.

During my visit, I met a woman who stops by every other day to water, trim and keep after the plants.  Clearly, she’s doing a wonderful job.

The bridge, originally built in 1892,  is an example of 19th century metal-truss bridge construction.  It spans 183 feet and includes a 12-foot roadway suspended 18 feet over Farmington River.  And it has been much traveled over the years.

The Old Drake Flower Bridge was originally built to be a one lane, one way bridge for vehicular traffic.  It was later replaced by a 2 lane bridge in 1992.  Finally, in 1995, it was restored as a pedestrian bridge.   It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984

There are also plants and flowers by the sides of  each entrance to the bridge.

At the entrance to the bridge, off to the left side, there is a memorial dedicated to the original bridge (the Weatogue Bridge) that was built there before it was replaced by the Old Drake Flower Bridge.

The inscription on the historical marker reads reads:

A toll bridge was built here 
in 1734 by order of 
the General Assembly 
it was the first 
highway bridge across 
the Farmington River

The Old Flower Bridge is a popular place for weddings, portrait photography shoots and engagements.  In fact, I turned around from the parking lot the first day I went there because there was a wedding or wedding shoot taking place and I didn’t want to disrupt them.  The second day I went I ran into a couple who had just gotten engaged.  The beaming couple asked me to take their photo and went on their merry way of future bliss.

The Old Flower Bridge is dog friendly.

Lisa (on the right) is a 5 year old Havanese.  I love seeing how happy and proud dog guardians are in their photos.

Tucker Jones is a 2 year old Corgi.

Leila is a 9 year old Bernese and Beagle mix.

Below is a link to The Flash Lady Photography.  The Flash Lady Photography conducted an engagement photo shoot on the bridge in 2015.  You may notice many of the flowers are not on the bridge when these photos were taken as it was the end of October when the photos were taken.  I hope they’re both very happy now!

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Stanley Park 2017 (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 31 & June 2, 2017

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA

Hours:

Official Season: Open to the public (7 days a week) from 7:00 am until dusk daily(1/2 hour before sunset) from the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November.

Off-Season: Gate 1, across from Westfield State University’s Woodward Center, is open year-round from 7:00 am until dusk daily, weather permitting. Upon entrance, please note gate closing times.

Cost: Free

Parking: During the “official season” from around early May until the end of November, there are two parking areas with ample parking (probably room for 300 or more cars) .  During the off season, the second parking lot is closed.

Size/Trail Difficulty: 300 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly:Yes

Highlights: sports fields, play area, pond, trails, flower garden, fountain, sculptures, covered bridge, birds, wildlife, ample parking

Website: Stanley Park

Map: Stanley Park Map

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If you read the title of this blog post and thought thought to yourself, “Hey you’ve already posted about this place” you would be correct.  I visited Stanley Park in June, 2015 but I was told, incorrectly, by a park worker that I was not allowed to take photos there with paying a fee first.  So, I was only able to use a few photos from my original visit and I had tp use my camera phone for the remainder of the photos and they did not come out very good.  So, I decided to take another trip to the park last week.  If you do want to see my original post you can access it here:  Stanley Park in 2015.

Named after Frank Stanley Beveridge, Stanley Park, Stanley Park is one of the most popular parks in Western MA.  Throughout the year they hold various memorial services  for veterans, musical shows and even a road race among other events.  But, Stanley Park is also a great to play to visit to get away from people and just have a peaceful hike along the many trails there or to just sit and watch the various wildlife that inhabit the park.

Originally from Pembroke Shores, Nova Scotia, Frank Stanley Beveridge would go on to create the company Stanley Home Products after immigrating to the states and eventually settling in Westfield, MA.  Because of his love if nature and its inhabitants, he would establish Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. on twenty-five acres of land in Westfield, Massachusetts.  Since then it has grown exponentially but it has still kept the same natural beauty.

The first thing that stood out to me while visiting Stanley Park are the colors, particularly during the spring summer and especially during the fall foliage season.  Whether it is the variety of birds at the park, the colorful flowers and green grass or the Koi fish in the pond, the colors were really popping at Stanley.

One of the things Stanley Park is most known for is its population of black squirrels.  Since they are not indigenous to the area, their origins have often been a matter of curious debate.  No, they weren’t dropped off by aliens nor did they travel to the park as part of a family vacation.

The black squirrels are actually from Michigan.  They were gifts from former Stanley Home Products sales managers, Hubert L. Worell and Alvah (Al) Elzerman.  They were brought there in 1948 and their population has steadily increased.  As you can see, they are very well fed.

There is a soccer/lacrosse field, basketball court and play area for children in the main parking area.  You can also access the Beveridge Nature Sanctuary Trail from the parking area.  The Sanctuary Trail is 229 acres of easy trails with some gentle inclines.

Stanley Park is home to a variety of blue jays, cardinals, ducks, geese and other birds s well as frogs and turtles.

One of the best places at Stanley Park is the area behind the pond at the entrance.  Chipmunks, squirrels, birds and other critters stop by in the hopes of some nuts or other treats from passing visitors.  In fact, when I walked over to the area chipmunks actually came out from hiding to greet me, in the hopes I might have some snacks for them.  They weren’t disappointed.

You can even hand feed them.

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Stanley Park also has a garden area with roses, rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowers and pretty trees.

There is also a covered bridge at Stanley Park.  Even though it only allows foot traffic the Goodrich Bridge is still bridge and it is indeed covered.  It is one of the 13 wooden covered bridges in Massachusetts.  I never really considered it an actual covered bridge since it is not on a roadway or sidewalk.  But, it does meet the criteria.

An old blacksmith building is located near the bridge.

There is a mill by the pond and a couple of waterfalls.

 

There are also several memorials and monuments at Stanley Park.

This Veteran’s Memorial is dedicated to all of those in Westfield who have served.  Black plaques on the ground list the names of the people from Westfield who have died while serving.

This memorial, Our Lady Of Fatima, was dedicated in September 1952 to Otto Bono Calegari, a Westfield native who was killed during the Korean Conflict.  The memorial was handcrafted by Otto’s father, Rocco Calegari.

The Carillon Tower is located near the gardens.  Completed in 1950, the tower tower was dedicated to world peace.  From time to time, the bells of the Carillon are rung at the tower as part of their Carillon Tower ceremonies.  The bronze doors are decorated with 14 relief sculptures portraying various aspects of the Park and Stanley Home Products, as well as profiles of Frank Stanley Beveridge and Catherine L. O’Brien.

The map in front of the tower measures 23 feet by 30 feet, and is composed of multicolored New York slate.

The Angel of Independence was a gift from Stanley Home Products sales persons from Mexico on October 25, 1958. The monument is a Replica of the statue Placido de lareforma in Mexico City which stands for Liberty and Freedom. The base is Vermont Marble and stands 30 feet tall.

I couldn’t find much information about this statue except that it is referred to as the “Children With Umbrella” statue.  It is a fairly new addition as far as I can tell.

There are also dinosaur tracks at Stanley Park.  Tracks that are said to be over 100 million years old.  The tracks are actually from the Carlton Nash Quarry South Hadley (MA).

There are two fountains at Stanley.  They are both located in the garden area and near the entrance by Gate 2.

I saw someone riding this cute bicycle at Stanley and she was kind enough too let me photograph it.  I especially liked the bell she would ring from time to time as she rode it.

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There is so much beauty at Stanley Park.  Just the way the trees bend and the views from the upper level where the garden is located to the duck ponds and the bridges that are scattered throughout the park are sights to behold.

Stanley Park is a great place to bring your dog, although he or she may want to chase or make friends with the ducks and geese there.

I met Duke, a 1 year old rescue, while I was walking along the Sanctuary Trail.  He was such a friendly guy!

.Biscuit, or Bubba, a 5 year old Bulldog and Mastiff was enjoying a walk along the boardwalk .  Her fur was so soft!

As the clouds came rolling in, it was evident it was time to leave.

This is video of the hail storm that followed shortly after we left.

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Irish Famine Memorial (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 17, 2017

Location: corners of Washington and School St, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Accessible everyday, 24 hours a day

Parking:Street parking can be difficult is this neighborhood.  Finding a parking garage is probably the best option.  Also, the Park St train stop on the Red Line is within walking distance (about half a mile) to the memorial.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

While we’re celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day with our green beer and corned beef (pause for the collective yuck) it’s easy to forget about the history of the Irish people and the hardships that brought so many Irish here, especially to New England.

The Boston Irish Famine Memorial is dedicated to the Great Famine that gripped Ireland in 1845.  Potatoes, a main crop in Ireland, stopped growing, leaving many to go hungry and suffer financially as they could not sell their crops.  Mold was the culprit.  Since potatoes were the main crop in Ireland, many of the poor in Ireland suffered from the famine, with about one-eighth of the population dying from hunger or disease related to the famine over the following years. As a result of the famine, Irish immigration to the United States spiked with over 1.5 million Irish arriving on our shores. Boston was one of the main destinations for these new citizens and the Irish remain a prominent part of our community.

Robert Shure’s Boston Irish Famine Memorial displays the pain and, conversely, pride of the Irish people who have suffered so much.  It is a somber, powerful and inspiring display of the suffering and, ultimately, the ability of the Irish to overcome their “troubles”.

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The first statue, located on School and Washington streets, shows three people, presumably a mother, father and child, in the throes of hunger.  Shure was meticulous in his sculpture.  You can see how thin the figures are and, from certain angles, you can actually see the ribs of the figures.

The second sculpture shows three people, presumably the very same family healthy and happy.  Standing up straight and proudly, the family looks happy and healthy.  It is most certainly a sign of how all of us can overcome adversity and how the Irish have been able to withstand so much.

As an aside, I love the diversity of Boston.  Traversing through the memorial, I witnessed people of all walks of life and ethnicities.

A wreath and flower was placed by the Charitable Irish Society at the sculpture of the suffering family and on one of the figures of the memorial to commemorate Saint Patrick’s Day.

A series of 8 plaques encircle the memorial.  One of the plaques, entitled “Let’s We Forget”, gives a nod to the suffering and famines across the globe and how we continue to watch as others starve helplessly.

The bronze and granite memorial was dedicated in June of 1998, marking the 150th anniversary of the famine.

On my way back to the train station, I saw Brig, a beautiful Bull Mastiff.

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Grieving Gold Star Mother Statue (Manchester, NH)

 

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Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Charles R. Stanton Plaza, in front of the JD’s Tavern and Radisson hotel, 700 Elm St # 1, Manchester, NH

Hours:  Open daily, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: You can usually find metered off street parking

Dog Friendly: Yes

I found this statue to be timely considering some of the discourse these days. The Grieving Gold Star Mother statue located, appropriately, across the street from the Veterans Memorial Park at Charles R. Stanton Plaza in front of the Radisson and JD’s Tavern at 700 Elm St, Manchester, NH, is a tribute to all mothers and families who have lost a loved one at war.

The Grieving Gold Star Mother shows the teary eyed mom clutching a telegram, presumably with the notice of her son’s death. A potted planted lies knocked over in front of a photo of her son.

The 407 pound bronze statue, sculpted by Andrew Chernak, was said to depict a mother from World War II because that is the war that had the most fatalities. However, the Gold Star Mothers group was formed by Grace Darling Seibold during World War I when her son, George Vaughn Seibold, was lost (his body was never identified). In an effort to console herself and other mothers who had lost a child during the war, Grace created the group. The group not only consoled each grieving mother. They also dedicated themselves to doing community service and visiting wounded service members.

There are two Grieving Gold Star Mother statues in the U.S. The first Grieving Gold Star Mother statue is located in Carmel, New York. There is also a Gold Star Mother and a Gold Star Father memorial with statues of each Gold Star parent in Clinton, Ohio.

Bricks with the names of all of the wars the United States have been involved in (Colonial and post Colonial times) have been placed in front of the statue. The list of conflicts and wars and the loss of lives involved in those actions are staggering.

The memorial in New Hampshire was erected in April 15, 2011.

 


The Wall That Heals (West Springfield, MA)

Dates Of Exhibit: August 18 – 21, 2016 (the exhibit will be making another appearance in New England October 20 when it arrives in West Haven, CT and will then go to New Milford, CT, Leominster, MA and the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT)

Location: Eastern States Exposition (Gate 9) , 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA

Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: Parking was free for viewing the memorial (it is usually $5 to park there).  There were about 70 parking spots.

Dog Friendly: No

Highlights: Replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Mobile Educational Center, military memorabilia and vehicles, helicopter liftoff

Website: The Wall That Heals

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The traveling replica of the Wall That Heals spent the weekend of August 18-21 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts before continuing its tour.  It is presently in Princetown, New York until August 28.  Click below to see the entire 2016 schedule for the wall

The Wall That Heals 2016 Tour Schedule

A half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Wall That Heals has been to more than 400 cities throughout the United States.  It was dedicated on Veteran’s Day (November 11), 1996.

The Wall That Heals is meant to not only act as a reminder of all those who died in the service of their country during the Vietnam Conflict it also is meant to help veterans cope and heal from the pain they still harbor and hopefully help them heal.

There is also a mobile Education Center which has educational information on the walls of the truck.  In one section of the exterior of the truck there was a list and photos of the people from Massachusetts lost in Vietnam.  Another section showed the names and photos from the area where the truck was parked (Western MA) and a final video screen displayed all of the victims of the war.  There is also timelines of the war and additional background information of the war.

You can’t help but to be moved by seeing all of the names on the wall.  All of those names had dreams, hopes, futures that were snuffed out much too early.  I kept thinking how much more they were meant to accomplish.  They were supposed to fall in love and have children and outlive their parents.  What really got to me was seeing the photos, notes, flowers and flags that were left behind.  Even decades later, the wounds are still fresh for so many.

The 250 foot long wall has over 58,000 names.

 

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On a lighter note, one thing I have always respected and admired about people in the service and veterans is their sense of humor and ability to turn just about anything into a joke.  This signpost, presumably a replica of a sign at one of the American camps in Vietnam details the distances (from West Springfield, MA) to Camp Pendleton (2,494 mi), Ia Drang (8,599 mi), Vietnam Wall (371 mi) and, of course, Disney World (1,236 mi).  Home is wherever you are so that shows 0 miles.

There were also tables with military gear from the Vietnam War era and military vehicles also from that era.

We were also treated to a helicopter liftoff (video of the liftoff follows below) by an Army Black Hawk Medevac.  The things on the side are either gun pods or for launching torpedoes. Watching them prep for the liftoff showed me just how much care and preparation goes into every flight and just how meticulous they are about checking their flight gear.

Below are videos of a walking tour of The Wall That Heals (I only walked half of the wall with the video recording because it was a high traffic area) and the Blackhawk helicopter liftoff.

Places With Similar Monuments I Have Visited In New England:

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Fort Taber/Rodman Park

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Veteran Greens Memorial Park

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Veteran Greens Memorial Park (Agawam, MA)

Date Visited: May 30, 2016

Location: Main St, Agawam, MA (corner of School St & Main St)

Parking:  There is no off street parking but there are some lots across the street and a small parking area just before the memorial.

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On this important day, I thought it would be good to showcase one of the many war memorials in the Western Massachusetts area.  The Veterans Green Memorial Park, nestled in front of the Phelps Elementary School, is one of these tasteful memorials.

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The memorial, which recognizes every person who has died in war from the Agawam area dating all the way back to the American Revolutionary War.

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Due to the inclement weather and unpredictable weather patterns of the area (it is New England after all), parades and memorials were cancelled this year which gave me full access to the site but probably disappointed a lot of likely parade watchers.  There is usually a ceremony each year at the site and it looked strange not seeing any parades or people reveling in the streets and sidewalks during the day.

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The Benjamin Phelps Elementary School is located behind the memorial and a gazebo stands just off the side of the memorial.

What stands out most about the memorial is the bell.  It symbolizes so much; the tones rung out during remembrances, the readiness and alert nature of our armed forces and the ringing out of victory and freedom.

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Happy memorial and remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.