City to unveil Korean War monument this weekend
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | September 27,2013
It took less than a year for George Bates to achieve his vision.
Bates and his four-person committee of fellow Korean War veterans — John Manney, Edward Perkins, Anthony Fusco and Ted Salreni — will see their work pay off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Main Street Park with the dedication of the city’s Korean War monument.
“We are thrilled, just ecstatic about the whole deal,” Bates said. “Everything just came together just the way we wanted it to.”
The granite monument, designed by Bates in consultation with his committee and built by Holden Memorials, features gold-colored lettering and color pictures of an eagle and a flag. An inscription reads “Freedom is not Free,” a saying that, according to Bates, originated during the Korean War. The phrase is also inscribed on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“You’ll be pretty impressed with it,” Bates said.
Bates said it was around Christmas last year when he started to think about getting a monument to the war in which he served, along with more than 300,000 other Americans, erected in Rutland.
He convened his committee in January and started raising money in April. The effort really started to pick up steam in July after an event marking the armistice that ended fighting between North Korea and South Korea, though the hostilities officially continue to this day.
The group needed $11,300. Bates said they raised $17,000 and plan to spend the excess on landscaping and other expenses.
“We want to get in a big flagpole and the whole ball of wax,” Bates said. “I think we’ll have enough money to get it done.”
Bates himself will speak at the unveiling, as will a guest speaker, to be announced, from Washington, D.C.
“He’s supposed to be a colonel,” Bates said. “We’re not 100 percent sure yet.”
The ceremony will also feature the presentation of a medal to Barbara Densmore, the widow of local Korean War veteran John Densmore.
“John was in Korea in ’51 and ’52,” said Edward Perkins. “He was awarded a Bronze State. He got the certificate, but he never got the medal.”
Perkins said he and his fellow organizers acquired a Bronze Start to present to Barbara Densmore in place of the one her husband should have received.
“We have no way of knowing why he didn’t receive one,” Perkins said. “He’s going to get it posthumously at the ceremony on Saturday.”