Fancher Memorial worthy of upgrades, 72 years after dedicated for 10 who died in WWII

Posted 20 June 2021 at 9:55 am


Our family immigrated to America in the late 1800’s and settled in Fancher. They worked in the quarries and eventually purchased a farm on the corner of Fancher and Telegraph Roads. This was the house that we grew up in. It was a time in America that World War II was about to become a reality.

I remember picking milk weed pods for the War effort, troop trains stopping in Fancher for water for the steam engine train and the troops throwing oranges to us. Train after train as they passed the troops would wave and we waved back. Little did we know how many would never return.

On August 14, 1949 I experienced something that has remained with me for 72 years. On that day some 2,000 people assembled in Fancher for the dedication of the war memorial. I had never seen anything like it and I had a front row seat standing on the corner of Fancher and Telegraph Roads. There were dignitaries, families, marching bands and the whole bit.

I will never forget one thing, though, the face of a mother in the back seat of the black sedan with a gold star on the door. I saw her face. Our eyes met. I could feel her heart beat. I knew then who she was and why she was there riding in that car with a gold star. I have been forever haunted by that experience.

I am so pleased that the monument is being restored. It is remarkable that a community came together with a purpose to build something for the 10 local boys lost in that horrible war. They built it as a testament to the ultimate sacrifice the boys made. They built it for the gold star mothers to honor their loss. They built it to last.

It has lasted 72 years now and will remain for future generations thanks to the hard work of Danny Mawn, President of Holley Murray Historical Society, and Marsha DiFilipps, Holley Murray Historian, who have researched the history of the monument and the importance it holds for the community. Thank you to Tom Rivers, Editor, for spreading the word for the rededication via the Orleans Hub.

Most of all thank you to Town of Murray Supervisor, Joseph Sidonio, without whom the restoration and rededication would never have happened. Joe, thank you for the one hundred phone calls, countless hours of work, pictures and emails sent and friendship I will cherish.

I (Fred Fiorito) really never expected the response to a voicemail that I left one day in late May 2020. A call that evening left me a stranger from a town just outside of New York City who left Fancher 61 years ago and only returned a couple of times a year to visit his parents and brother, Ted Fiorito, Jr., the last of the Fioritos. He left his mark of military service and fire service in FHM Fire Department for 61 years.

I was asked if I would like the monument moved to a quiet spot, maybe in Brockville or Hulberton. My answer was and is NO. The community chose to build it in the center of Fancher so we would not ever forget them.

Remember those great kids who sacrificed everything and their tomorrows so that we might enjoy our todays.

Fred and Ted Fiorito