A few hundred people gathered Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park in South Attleboro for a ceremony to honor veterans, dedicate the new Veterans Memorial Pavilion and unveil the South Attleboro Memorial Wall.
Paul Pouliot, commander of American Legion Post 312 and head of the pavilion committee, spoke about how he got the idea for the structure. He said it happened a couple years ago when the legion hosted an event at the park that included a performance by a band. It began to rain, and the band's setup had to be broken down quickly.
"Then I said to myself, 'Wouldn't it be nice if we had a pavilion with power, a large structure?'" he said. "That stayed in my mind for about five months. Then I said, 'Heck, let's go ahead.' We put together a dynamic committee."
The goal was to raise $75,000 from local residents, businesses and others. The committee exceeded that goal by $10,000. The extra money will go toward security cameras.
City Councilor Walter Thibodeau, who was on the committee, said it was an "effort of love" to raise the money and build the pavilion.
"Without love of country, the money donated by you to construct this memorial during what has been described as the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, it would have never happened," he said.
Former Councilor Cherie Felos, who also was on the committee, said, "It was such an honor … to know that the spirit of giving is alive among our community members who have such a loyalty to, dare I say it, South Attleboro—but as well to the larger community because truly it does serve the larger community."
Many people supported the project through the purchase of more than 200 bricks, which are on the memorial wall located near the pavilion. The bricks feature the names of community organizations and people, including those who served in the military.
Pouliot, pleased that his vision had become a reality, told the crowd, "I am so proud to say these words today—'mission accomplished.'"