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Fallen Sackets Harbor soldiers to be honored at new Madison Barracks memorial park

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SACKETS HARBOR — A memorial park will be launched this spring at Madison Barracks featuring benches honoring Fort Drum soldiers who have died since 2003 during their service in Afghanistan.

Designed for free by Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors, Watertown, the park will be located on space that surrounds the historic stone water tower. Along with the benches, the park will feature a concrete walkway, landscaping, interpretive signage and lighting. The project is a joint venture led by the Society for the Preservation of Madison Barracks and Harold W. Townsend American Legion Post 1757.

Fallen soldiers to be honored by benches include Lt. Col. Leon G. James II, who died in Afghanistan in October 2005; Cpl. Aaron M. Griner, who died in Afghanistan in June 2006; Maj. Jaimie E. Leonard, who died in Afghanistan in June, and Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, who died in Afghanistan in August.

The tower area has served as a memorial to those who have served in the military since the late 1800s, said Michael W. Campbell, Madison Barracks property manager. A bronze plaque is mounted on the tower in dedication to those from the 9th Infantry Regiment’s C Company who died in the Spanish-American War. The area also is home to a World War I monument, the Old Spanish Cannon brought back from the Philippines by the 23rd Infantry, and is the former location of the Bell of Balangiga, a war relic of the 9th Infantry. “It’s always been used as an honorary area, and 125 years later we’re picking the ball back up and creating a park for the lost young men and women who left Madison Barracks and never returned,” Mr. Campbell said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the memorial park will be held during the summer. Those who wish to donate toward the park can contact Mr. Campbell at 646-3374 or mcampbell@madisonbarracks.com, or Hilton P. Shattuck, commander of the American Legion post, at 646-3530.

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