Main Street Cemetery to be new home for Dalton's Women's Memorial

Wednesday October 31, 2012

DALTON -- Since 1999, Gail Pinna has had a routine to keep up the Women's Memorial outside her Dalton Town Hall office. She's brushed away debris, replaced the decorative American flags that have frayed in the strong winds, and made sure foliage didn't obstruct the memorial's view from the streets and sidewalk.

Much to Pinna's dismay, the Dalton Select Board voted to move the plaque to the Mound at the Main Street Cemetery at a recent Select Board meeting.

The decision now goes to the Cemetery Board of Trustees, who would welcome the plaque on the Mound and will likely approve the move at their Nov. 14 meeting.

The Women's Memorial, a plaque attached to a knee-high slab of concrete, is unique in that it honors only Dalton women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The plaque was unveiled on the Town Hall lawn during a Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 1999.

"Out here, it's seen over and over. There, it'll probably be seen on Memorial Day, but that's it," said Pinna, who's also the co-chairwoman and secretary of the Dalton Historical Commission. "I'll miss seeing it every time I drive by. I'm so used to tending to the little thing."

Discussion to move the Women's Memorial began when the Town Hall Ren ovation Committee ap proached the Dalton His torical Commission about how appropriate it would be to move the plaque during re-landscaping.

The Historical Commission voted to move the plaque on Oct. 9, but Pinna abstained due to her emotional involvement with the memorial and wanted to avoid contention.

After the Historical Com mission voted in favor of the move, the Cemetery Board of Trustees then took on the relocation process. Members had to have the move officiated by the Select Board since the plaque is on Town Hall property.

"They were waiting for us to make the first move," said John Boyle, the Dalton Select Board chairman. "It's an effort to consolidate all the memorials in one area."

Back in 1999, the then-Cemetery Board of Trustees was against having the plaque on the cemetery grounds, according to Mary Jane Caliento, who is a member of the Historical Commission, as she still is today. The plaque ended up on the Town Hall front lawn since it had nowhere else to go.

Moving the plaque to the Mound won't necessarily put it out of Pinna's, or anyone else in the Historical Com mission's, hands.

"We appreciate all the Historical Commission has done," said Ed Cady, the chairman of the Cemetery Trustees. "The cemetery is full of memorials kept up by the family. We wouldn't have any objection to anyone taking good care of the memorial in the cemetery."

The other two plaques situated on the side of the cemetery's Mound are the Dalton Civil War Veterans plaque and the Dalton Revolutionary soldiers plaque.

"There are a lot of visitors to the cemetery," Boyle said. "I'm certain it'll get the appropriate amount of notice."

At the Oct. 22 Select Board meeting, Pinna was clearly upset at the Select Board's decision. A friend seated next to her patted her on the back to comfort her.

Though Pinna admitted that the Women's Memorial will "be taken care of and kept up with" in the hands of the Main Street Cemetery, it's the history she has with the plaque that makes it hard to part with.

"Before the stone was purchased, I drove around with the plaque in my car," she said.

To reach Adam Poulisse:,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse


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