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Widow of Man Who Helped Design Franklin’s WWII, Korean War Memorial Reflects on Monument’s History
FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – The memorial that honors Franklin’s veterans who served in World War II and the Korean War is getting a new look, and the widow of the man who helped design the current monument reflects on its history.
(Franklin’s current World War II and Korean War memorial. Photo courtesy Steven Krauza.)
The city’s first monument to honor veterans was built in 1950 and was a white, wooden structure. It was designed and built by Samuel Brady, a local architect, who is also responsible for the Wanango Country Club.
By 1966, the memorial had deteriorated to the point the Jaycees Club decided to redesign and rebuild it. Robert J. Finch, a Marine Corps Veteran, was among those who helped design the red brick structure currently located in Fountain Park.
Finch’s widow, Darlene told exploreClarion.com that she is pleased the monument is getting a new look and feels that her husband would be pleased, as well.
The new monument will be made of granite. It will feature a completely new design and be relocated to Bandstand Park near the Vietnam Memorial. Designed by James Eakin at Franklin Granite Works, it features separate structures shaped as rectangles with one side open so people can approach and read the names featured on three sides. Each structure has four panels that will be engraved with the names of Franklin service members from that era.
Darlene Finch said that Brady was concerned that the replacement structure wouldn’t be as nice as what he had designed, and the group worked with Brady to assure him they were planning something that would be attractive and honor veterans.
In creating the brick monument, Darlene said the Jaycees transferred the names from the earlier monument and asked the community to come forward with names of family members who had served in WWII that they would like to have added.
She researched the monument’s history at the Franklin Library; she went through old newspapers and found a picture of the Jaycees.
“There’s a picture in the ‘News-Herald’ dated June 15, 1967, that shows the Franklin Jaycees turning over the new WWII monument over to the city,” Finch explained.
“I remember that they sold bricks for the memorial. They were a dollar apiece. You could buy a brick to help contribute to the building of the honor roll.”
The local brick-layers union then laid the brick for the monument.
“My husband had triplet uncles who had served, as well as his father (Robert D. Finch).”
Robert D. Finch was in the United States Navy and served in the Pacific, and the uncles – Fred, Floyd, and Francis Finch – also served our country in the Navy.
Robert J. Finch’s grandmother was proud that she had four boys who served in WWII.
“Robert D. Finch (Finch’s husband’s father) didn’t have to go,” Darlene recounted. “He had two small children at the time. However, he said if his triplet brothers were going to serve, he was, too.”
The new monument is expected to be installed by the summer of 2020. It will feature the same names that are on the current monument.
Darlene Finch is certain that her late husband would be happy with the new monument, and she plans to be at its dedication.
“He would be thrilled,” she said. “He would want to be a part of it.”
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