Dedication ceremony for Burlington Memorial Saturday

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BURLINGTON — It took much work and dedication to a cause near and dear to the hearts of the citizens of Burlington. On Saturday, all that effort will bring out the citizens of the historic community as the Burlington Veterans Memorial will be unveiled at an evening dedication.

The monument will find a permanent home at the Burlington Commons Park.

It is dedicated to honor all the veterans from Burlington who have been killed in action or listed as missing during any military action that involved the United States.

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Bringing the monument into reality has been the work of those involved with the Burlington Veterans Memorial basketball and corn-hole tournaments, along with area businesses, community members and the Fayette Township Trustees.

Spearing heading the monument effort has been Chris Saunders, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. It all started at the funeral of Theodore U. Church, always known as Tuc, a helicopter pilot who at the age of 32 was shot down on Memorial Day 2007 in Iraq. One of those friends at his funeral was Saunders.

“I went to his funeral that they had at the former South Point High School and was kind of taken aback by everything,” Saunders said recently. “I just started thinking and kind of had the idea of a basketball tournament.”

The more Saunders thought about a tournament and a memorial for his friend Tuc, the more he saw it as a way to honor all Burlington’s war heroes.

Right now the monument that will be unveiled will bear the names of four Burlington soldiers etched on its face: Benjamin Butcher, Gregory Maynard, Roger Smith and Tuc.

Two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Woody Williams, who served in World War II and Ron Rosser, who fought in the Korean War, will speak at the dedication.

There will be a reception following the dedication at the common’s shelter. The ceremony is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m.