Wrentham’s Gulf War Veterans to be Honored with Memorial

Grace Allen
Issue Date: 
April, 2020
Article Body: 

Veterans of the Gulf War will finally have a memorial on Wrentham’s town common, thanks to the efforts of Raymond Rose, a U.S. Army veteran and town resident.
Thirty years ago, the United States entered into a protracted campaign in the Persian Gulf. And while the U.S. will likely maintain a presence there for some time to come, a historic peace-deal between the U.S. and the Taliban was signed in February.
The timing was apropos for Rose, who had finally helped secure funding for the memorial through two grants.
Rose is the town’s Tree Warden and Cemetery Parks Foreman, and maintains the town common, which contains several war memorials.
“We don’t have a monument to commemorate all the soldiers who fought in all the different campaigns in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan,” said Rose. “I’ve been thinking it was time, but part of me was waiting until there was an official declaration to the end of hostilities, which finally came.”
Rose, a Wrentham native, joined the Army National Guard in 1983, starting in Mechanized Infantry and ending his military career as a Staff Sergeant in Combat Engineers in 2004.
The State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), a central advisory body for historical records coordination with each state, awarded the town a $15,000 grant. The Sweatt Memorial Fund, a local trust fund, awarded the town a $16,000 grant.
“Town Clerk Cindy Thompson helped me apply for the SHRAB grant,” noted Rose. “She was instrumental in the application process, and for that I am grateful.”
The money will be used to design, create, and install the memorial.
In a statement, Wrentham Town Administrator Kevin Sweet said, “Thanks to these generous grants and donations, Wrentham can commemorate those who served in the Persian Gulf War with a beautiful memorial.”
Rose worked with Tribute in Stone, a local monument company, to design the memorial, which will consist of different insignias for each branch of the military, and a map of the Persian Gulf. Eight feet wide by six feet tall, the memorial will be created in somber grey granite to match the other memorials on the common. The names of Wrentham’s veterans will be etched on the back.
Wrentham Boy Scout Hayden Holster from Troop 61 will build a brick walkway to the memorial for his Eagle Scout project. The public will be able to purchase a brick to help defray any remaining costs for the project, which are estimated at $34,000.
The most difficult part of the project, says Rose, will be finding the names of all past and current Wrentham residents who served. He will work with the American Legion and Wrentham’s Veteran’s Agent to come up with a comprehensive list.
“I’m worried about it because I want to get it right, but I also know that if we miss somebody, we can add them later,” Rose said.
As a veteran himself, Rose’s name will be etched on the back, and so will the name of his brother, Clifford, a Chief Warrant Officer in the Army Reserve. Clifford returned from his own overseas deployment with post-traumatic stress disorder and committed suicide. He will be listed on the memorial as killed in action per military guidelines.
The memorial is expected to be unveiled on Veteran’s Day.
“This memorial will serve as a representation of our gratitude towards service members and an acknowledgment of their service,” said Town Administrator Sweet. “We look forward to this memorial joining the ranks of other memorials featured on our common.”
Veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War from Operation Desert Storm through Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq, and in the Afghanistan operations, are urged to contact Rose at [email protected] for inclusion in the new memorial. Veterans must have a separation of service document (DD Form 214).