Pittsfield monument to honor 5 from Berkshires killed in war on terror

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PITTSFIELD — The five Berkshire residents who have died in the ongoing war on terrorism will be memorialized this year with a new monument.

On Sept. 11, a group of veterans plans to dedicate the Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial being created by Skylight Studios in Woburn. Once completed, it will be installed in Veterans Memorial Park off South Street.

The committee spearheading the project officially began a $45,000 fundraising campaign Tuesday to pay for the monument, landscaping and associated costs.

VFW Post 448 in Pittsfield has made a $10,000 donation to jump-start the fundraising, according to post Commander Arnie Perras.

"This [monument] will be for all of Berkshire County with the names of those killed in action, with room for more [names], as the war is ongoing," said Perras, chairman of the six-person memorial committee.

The parents of the Berkshires' first casualty, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, of Cheshire, are grateful for the memorial. The Army sergeant was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 5, 2001.

"He died fighting for his country, and we want people to remember him," said Barbara Petithory.

Her husband, Louis, hopes no other names are added to the monument.

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"It's been almost 20 years, now. Hopefully, [the war] is going to stop," he said.

The other four Army servicemen from the Berkshires killed either in Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11 are Glenn Allison (Pittsfield), Stephen Wells (North Egremont), Michael DeMarsico (North Adams) and Mitchell Daehling (Dalton).

"Part of our mission is to keep alive the memory of those who protect our freedom," Perras said.

Marine veteran John Herrera said the country needs a constant reminder of those who have been on the front line in the war on terrorism.

"It's time to recognize the men and women of today who have served our country," said Herrera, who is Pittsfield's director of veterans services.

The Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial will be sited atop the park embankment facing toward South Street. The stand-alone monument will be an extension of the original peace memorial dedicated July 8, 1926, on behalf of the city residents who died in World War I. Behind the memorial is a wall displaying four plaques honoring veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, as well as World War I.

On May 31, 2010, the memorial was rededicated after extensive restoration of the five statues.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.


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