Woonsocket War Memorial: Rally and Defense Fund
… yes, even the self-described “stickler about church and state separation”, Jim Baron, says it’s a war memorial.
But the war memorial at Place Jolicoeur is different — materially, qualitatively and significantly different. It is different because it is not a religious symbol at all. Cross or no cross, it is not a religious symbol, it is a war memorial.
Its purpose — its reason for being, and for being where it is in the public square — has nothing to do with faith or religion. It is there to remember, and recognize the sacrifice of, the soldiers it honors: William Jolicoeur and Alexandre, Henri and Louis Gagne. The cross at the top is ancillary; it is, in effect, a decoration on the monument and what it denotes, any religious significance aside, is that this is a substitute for the graves these men will never have in their home city. They are buried on the faraway battlefields where they fell in service to their country.
The rally kicks off at 4:30 today and takes place at the memorial, 5 Cumberland Hill Road, Woonsocket. (From the south, take either Route 146 North or Route 295 North, then pick up Route 99 North. At the end of 99, take a left at the light and keep driving until you get to the fire station which will be on your left. Look for signs and police officers directing cars to parking areas.)
Last night, as Council President John Ward described it via e-mail, the Woonsocket City Council voted to establish
the creation of a separate account in order to accept donations to be used for the memorial defense costs and monument rehabilitation.
Those who are inclined to contribute to the fund will find information on the front page of the city’s website.