Trees of Honor Memorial seeks artists
By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Region - posted Wed., Nov. 28, 2012
The Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial Committee is calling all artisans to submit their ideas for a state-wide living memorial that honors Connecticut’s fallen heroes from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The idea for the memorial, to be built in Veterans Memorial Park in Middletown, was the brainchild of CTHM Committee Chairperson Sue Martucci, who saw a similar memorial when visiting her daughter, who is based at Fort Stewart in Georgia. At present Connecticut has 63 fallen heroes, each of whom will be memorialized with a flowering tree and personalized plaque. The memorial will also feature walkways, flower gardens, benches, flagpoles, focal point statues, a water feature and specialized lighting.
A small group of dedicated, passionate volunteers, all of the committee members have a connection to the military. Committee member Diane DeLuzio, whose son Steven was killed in Afghanistan in August of 2010, said Martucci reached out to her to help with the memorial on an advisory capacity.
“The idea of a memorial clicked for me,” said DeLuzio. “I want my son and all the others who have died in the wars always to be remembered,” she said. “As a committee, we were all throwing out ideas about how we wanted [the memorial] to look like, but none of us are artists. We figured, why limit things to just seven heads? That’s why we decided to hold a competition to get the most awesome design.”
DeLuzio did some preliminary research, looking particularly at how the 9/11 Memorial in New York came together. “There was a call, and a registration,” said DeLuzio, explaining that one of the first steps is to get the word out to artists who work in various media - such as bronze, stone and sculpture - with the idea of contracting out to multiple artists or companies for the individual parts of the design.
One of the first steps, DeLuzio said, was for the committee to send out letters to a variety of towns asking for a donated spot for the memorial.
“Middletown got on board right away,” DeLuzio said of the town, which offered its under-utilized Veterans Memorial Park for the project. “The mayor, the Parks and Recreation Department, and their very active veterans’ organizations have been very supportive,” she said, adding that various Rotary Clubs, American Legion organizations, Elks Clubs and VFWs have offered their support. As Middletown is somewhat centrally located, she said the park will work out well for the families and friends coming from various parts of the state.
The DeLuzios had two sons in the military. Fortunately, their other son, Scott, came home safely. “Steven was 25 when he died, and he will always be 25 in my mind,” said DeLuzio. With the planted trees that are always growing as a focal point of the memorial, she said the message it would send to her and to the families and friends of Connecticut’s other fallen is that their memory will continue on, always growing.
The call for artists is a nationwide search, and anyone interested in submitting ideas for the design should visit the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial website at www.cttreesofhonor.com and click on the link for the Memorial Elements Competition. Registration for the competition must be submitted no later than Jan. 31, 2013, to TreesMemorial@gmail.com or should be mailed to CT Trees of Honor Memorial, Inc., P.O. Box 234, Windsor, CT 06095. All submissions for Phase I of the Memorial Elements Contest must be received no later than April 1, 2013.