“For Vietnam, the monument (went up) 20 years after the fact,” Schultz said. “For Korea, it was 20 years after the fact. For the Revolution, it was 200 years.”
A committee formed by the selectmen obtained the monument in the aftermath of a controversy in 2009, after a Millbury company offered a free statue that was later rejected by the town. Some found that particular stone memorial, depicting a U.S. soldier and the letters “USA,” to be out of character for Monument Avenue, which features more subdued and traditional stone markers.
Private donations paid for the new monument, with funeral director David Solimine making a significant contribution, according to Schultz.
“We’re the land of the free because of the brave,” Agnes Raymond said. She remembered Jared’s eagerness to serve his country after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “We couldn’t change his mind. He had to go.”
Likewise, Harris was just days away from returning home from her third tour of duty in Iraq when she volunteered to pick up wounded Marines and fly them to a casualty station, and then to go out on a second mission to supply critically needed blood.
Agnes Raymond expects to see her grandson’s friends at tomorrow’s ceremony, people he grew up with and served with. Some have gone on to become policewomen and firemen, she said.
Meanwhile, Jared’s mother, Jackie Raymond, continues to work at the Lynn Public Schools.
“I think it keeps her strong,” Agnes said. “She’s around kids all the time. And I think that’s a good thing.”