In May 2012, American Legion Post 650 voted to assist in the repair and safekeeping of the Viet Nam Memorial at the base of the Mount Sabattis Recreation Area in Long Lake.
This monument cracked from the pressure of the dirt on its uphill side and without substantial repair will be destroyed.
Post 650 felt it could raise some small amount of funds that, combined with Town of Long Lake's efforts, would result in those repairs. Although no specific actions were addressed at the time, I spoke with several town employees and elected officials about possible repairs in the fall of 2012. All agreed to this initiative in theory.
Our summer 2012 fundraiser was a 50-50 raffle with the drawing on Columbus Day. Eldina Cusson won the 50-50 raffle. Fifty percent of the proceeds were sent her just after Columbus Day. The remaining raffle proceeds were kept by Post 650 to assist the town's efforts to save and repair the memorial.
In early Fall of 2012 Post 650 contracted for excavation of the rear of the monument as the first step in its restoration. The basic goals were to relieve pressure on the back of the monument and investigate its construction.
This investigation clearly indicated the monument's construction is completely inadequate to serve as a retaining wall. It was not built for that purpose and it is surprising that the weight of backfill has not toppled the block wall construction.
There are several possible options for repairing the monument. Any option other than complete replacement calls for the permanent removal of earth from the back of it.
Post 650 anticipated that steps would be taken to insure backpressure would not again threaten the monument and the monument's face could then be repaired. After limited discussions about the next steps, the town returned the monument to its original state.
Although we are disappointed by our inability to affect proper repairs last year, Post 650 stands ready to assist any future efforts by the town that will save and restore the Viet Nam Memorial and thanks the generous participants in our fund-raising efforts supporting this initiative.
Tim Touchette, commander
American Legion Post 650