The dream was spawned from Henry Jennings, a Korean War Era veteran of the United States Army, whose wife Willma, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps during World War II, was laid to rest at the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery.
Since the birth of this vision for this memorial, over 600 bricks have been sold, engraved and placed on the grounds of the 62-acre cemetery forming the beginning of the pathway. A five-member committee called the Friends of the Veterans Memorial Pathway was also formed to care for and supervise the creation and maintenance of the pathway.
"We [the committee members] just felt that it would be very important to allow people to remember their veterans [together] at the state-run cemetery, especially when buried elsewhere," William Craven, vice president of the Friends of the Memorial Pathway, an Army veteran of the Korean War Era, said. Massachusetts has two cemeteries funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main St., Agawam, and the Winchendon Veterans' Cemetery.
The pathway, with room for approximately 20,000 bricks, is made of granite slabs, divided into rows of four 4" x 8'' bricks. For a cost of $100 per brick, family members of those who've served, or are currently serving, can have a brick dedicated to their loved one.
The Friends must approve each dedication prior to being engraved on the bricks. Each brick has room for three lines, with 14 characters per line. Many bricks include the veteran's name, branch of service and era served.
For more information about the Memorial Pathway or to obtain an application for a brick visit the Friends of the Veterans Memorial Pathway's Web site at www.memorialpath.org.