UMMC and GC War Memorial Committee hold special dedication ceremony for veterans memorial
Submitted by Billie Owens on May 8, 2014 - 3:04pm
United Memorial Medical Center and the Genesee County War Memorial Committee will hold a special dedication ceremony for the Genesee County Veterans’ Memorial at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia.
In the early 1950’s Genesee Memorial Hospital was designated as the Genesee County War Memorial for wars fought in the 20th Century. A monument was placed near the entrance of hospital at 127 North St. that listed all the names of the men and women from Genesee County who died in service to their country during the two World Wars. Plaques for the Korean and Vietnam Wars were subsequently added to the monument.
The expansion and renovation of the hospital at North Street from 2009-2010, required moving the original 1950’s monument to a new location on the campus. The monument was disassembled and the white metal and aluminum plaques were carefully stored. The stone, made of a composite material, could not be salvaged due to extensive damage from the elements.
Hospital administrators met with representatives from Genesee County Veterans groups to discuss the condition of the monument and where to place it following the completion of construction. During this time, observances for Memorial and Veterans’ Days were moved to the Bank Street Campus. Centrally located Downtown, and out of the way of traffic and construction, attendance at the services on Bank Street increased substantially.
The War Memorial Committee, made up of veterans, requested that the new monument be placed at the Bank Street campus. United Memorial, honored to serve as the Genesee County War Memorial, agreed to the new location at the corner of Bank and Main streets. The Hospital also pledged to give funds, originally allocated for moving the monument during the construction project, to the committee to be used toward the new monument.
In November 2011, the veterans held a special ceremony to inter the original plaques in a vault below where the new monument was to be constructed. There is an engraved granite marker identifying its location at the site. To raise the additional funds necessary for the monument, the veterans solicited for donations and sold granite pavers that could be engraved with any veteran’s name, rank and military branch. The pavers will be permanently placed near the monument when the site work and landscaping are completed following the dedication. This will mark the culmination of a nearly five-year-long project to replace the original monument.
The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the dedication ceremony on May 17th. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception with light refreshments.