World War I memorial rededicated at County Courthouse

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 June 2017 at 7:00 am

ALBION – A Bronze tablet listing the names of 24 soldiers from Orleans County who died in World War I was rededicated Friday at the County Courthouse.

Tim Archer, the service learning teacher at Albion, addresses a crowd during the dedication program at the courthouse. The marker was originally installed at the courthouse but was removed, and later was in possession of the American Legion. That veterans group formed when soldiers returned from World War I nearly 100 years ago.

The American Legion in Albion group sold its post building on Main Street to Community Action, and relocated to the former Scottish Pines golf course on Gaines Basin Road.

The Legion wanted to find a proper home for the memorial tablet, and reached out to Archer. His seventh grade students were doing research on local soldiers involved in World War I. The memorial tablet had been in storage.

The 3-by-5-foot plaque lists the names of soldiers from central Orleans – Barre, Albion, Gaines and Carlton – who died in the war. They include: John D. Arnett, Albert Beary, Jesse S. Brooks, John A. Butler, Leo. F. Christopher, Oliver E. Clement, Ronald F. Corey, Robert B. Densmore, Harry H. Dibley, Frederick Green, John Kurzawski, Martin Larwood, Louis Monacelli, Dewey Mott, Benjamin A. Needles, Leonard Osborne, Adolfo Passarelli, Stanley Rutkowski, James A. Sheret, Egbert Sheret, John H. Stevens, Alexander Wilson and Stanley P. Zyglarski.

“These men witnessed what no citizen, man, woman, or child, could ever imagine,” said County Historian Matthew Ballard. “A war that raged in the French countryside thousands of miles from home, exposing men to terrible disease, horrific weapons, chlorine and mustard gas, barbed wire and trenches, the list goes on.”

Seventh-grader Aurora Serafin was among the speakers during the rededication program.  The Albion students had considered having the tablet placed at Mount Albion Cemetery, but decided the best spot for it would be its original location at the courthouse.

Ballard praised the students for leading the effort to have the memorial back on public display.

“Today we commend the work of Mr. Archer and the seventh-grade service learning class, for yet again taking a significant and irreplaceable piece of history once forgotten, and returning it to the community,” Ballard said. “This project went through several iterations, with ideas of erecting a new monument on which to place this commemorative tablet. In the end, it found its way back home, to the place it was intended to rest up all along. Albion once again has a memorial to honor the lives lost during the Great War.”

American Legion Sheret Post #35 Commander Wally Skrypnik rings the bell each time student Alyson Knaak says one of the names of the fallen soldiers from central Orleans during World War I.

Students Myleigh Miller and Sydney Mulka sing “America the Beautiful.”

These American Legion members travelled from Geneva to serve as the Color Guard at the ceremony. They are wearing World War I reproduction uniforms. Most American Legion posts were started by veterans returning from World War I. The Legion is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.

Gaines Town Historian Al Capurso sings, “Till We Meet Again,” during the ceremony.

The memorial was rededicated during opening day of the annual Albion Strawberry Festival.

One of the American Legion members from Geneva salutes while “Taps” is played at the end of the ceremony.

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