Photos: The restored memorial in Belmont.
On a bright autumn afternoon, the Belmont World War I memorial shined in a way it must have looked when it was unveiled 92 years ago.
The graffiti is gone, the grime washed away benches installed, and flowers planting around the monolith of Bethel white granite set in the island between Common Street and Royal Road.
Nearly a century old, the stone memorial honors the nine Belmont men who did not come back home from a Great War across the Atlantic.
Cirino, Craigie, Finn, Lincoln, McAleer, Nimmo, Patriouin, Smith, True. Names that would be lost to history if not for the monument.
But since the memorial was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1923 – which historian Dan Leclerc describes as “one of the best” in the nation – its location along a major roadway and a busy commuter rail station allowed the structure to be neglected. The stone begged for repairs, the grounds suffered due to sparse maintenance, the entire area became threadbare.
The transformation of the memorial is part of a larger plan to renovate and restore the town’s two monuments and create a third honoring those who gave their lives to the country. Led by the Belmont Veterans’ Memorial Project group, the members have raised money through the Community Preservation Committee, individuals and in-kind contributions to bring these monuments back to life.
And on Veterans Day, 2015, the first part of the mission will be celebated.
The rededication ceremony for the World War I Memorial will be held at 1 p.m. on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The ceremony will be attended by the Belmont High School Band with comments from the Board of Selectmen, words from Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired) and will include the color guards from both the Police and Fire departments.