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The Vietnam War mural in Pittsfield lists the names of casualties and veterans honored on the painting.
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Mayor Linda Tyer expresses her gratitude for those who served.
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State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier says its important that those who served never be forgotten.
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Pittsfield's 'Lest We Forget' Mural Gets New Life

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Vietnam veteran Martha Green, who is portrayed on the mural, sings the national anthem and 'America the Beautiful.'

PITTSFIELD, Mass.-— A memorial to the Vietnam War has a new life on Pearl Street after the mural was moved and revitalized.

On Tuesday, the city unveiled "Lest We Forget" mural in its new location surrounded by nearly 100 officials and community members.  

The artwork honors and remembers Berkshire County's military personnel who were killed in action in Vietnam and veterans of the war who are living today.  

"We are here today to honor that and remember these 27 veterans killed in action," said Fran Tremblay of Vietnam Veterans of America James E. Callahan Berkshire County Chapter 65, who is depicted in the mural.

"If you notice, all the leaflets coming out of the helicopter are in black and white and those are the veterans that were killed. All the pictures surrounding them with the color are veterans that are living now and were involved in a lot of this mural."

The original 1991 scene was created on 101 First St. and then moved to West Housatonic Street in 2004. A couple of years ago, efforts were announced to restore and move the worn mural from the spot at the intersection of West Housatonic and South Street, which was not optimal for viewing.

After being deemed as historical by the Historical Commission, it received $15,000 in Community Preservation Funds last year.

The "new" work was painted by Ghi Sign Co. of Canaan, Conn., on the north side of the Intertek building and was certified by Hill-Engineers Architects Planners Inc.

Mayor Linda Tyer said the most important and heartfelt detail of the work is "killed in action."

"My dad, as some of you may know, is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served during the Vietnam War. I was one of the lucky daughters whose dad came home but the photographs of the men displayed on this mural did not come home and we can never fully know the grief that that their families have experienced over these long years," she said.

"It's also important to note that when Vietnam veterans who survived the battles by air, by sea, and by land and came home to the United States, they were not welcomed and Vietnam veterans who are here today will remember the pain they felt upon arriving home and not being greeted and celebrated for their sacrifice and their service. So today, to all of you, I extend my sincere heartfelt gratitude. Thank you for your service. We honor you and we are proud to stand with you today."

Martha Green, who served as an Army nurse, is depicted holding a baby in the mural. She sang the national anthem and "America the Beautiful" at the ceremony.

She explained that the referenced photo was taken on Christmas Day in 1968 in a village outside of the Cam Ranh Bay Air Force Base when she was 23. She never caught the baby's name.

Green said the restored work is bright, open, and really a tribute to veterans.

"I love it," she said.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier emphasized Tyer's point and said veterans can never be welcomed home enough.

She explained that the mural is unique because it shows their likeness and names and really allows the viewer to experience the people who sacrificed their lives.

"And 'Lest We forget' isn't just about lest we forget today, or 1991, but lest we forget in 2043 and 2063 and 3023," Farley-Bouvier said.

"And so we have a kind of a challenge in front of us because as we look around, and we see the Vietnam veterans that are with us today, maybe perhaps they're not going to be any more of them the next time we need to renew this mural, but we still have to pick up the charge and make sure that in 2043 and 2063 and 2083 we are not forgetting the sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans."

The project was funded in partnership with the building's owners, the Vietnam Veterans of American James E. Callahan Berkshire County Chapter 65, the Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board Heritage Grants, the Pittsfield Cultural Council through Artscape, and Community Preservation Committee.

The 27 Berkshire County residents who were killed in action during the Vietnam War:

  • James Henneberry
  • George Shufelt
  • Francis Bissaillon
  • David Borey
  • Edward Jarvis
  • John Pratt
  • Kevin Aldam
  • Russell Roulier
  • Paul Cronk, Jr.
  • Paul Conner
  • Chester Witanek
  • Howard Luscier
  • Peter Cook
  • Patrick Muraca
  • Gary Benjamin
  • John Malloy
  • Michael Casey
  • Charles Jaquins
  • James Termini
  • Michael Whalen
  • Charles Cummings
  • William Coakley
  • Peter Foote
  • Richard Davis
  • John Hartlage
  • Paul Krzynowek
  • Tristan Hayes

Honored in the mural:

  • George Winters
  • Fran Tremblay
  • Dave Fields
  • Jimmy Callahan
  • Barney Nimons
  • Martha Green
  • Charlie Williamson
  • Ike Frazier
  • Tyrone Bellanger

Tags: memorial,   murals,   unveiling,   Vietnam,   

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Pittsfield's Former Polish Club Eyed For $20 Million Condo Project

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With a sizable grant from the state, the former Polish Community Club is eyed for a 40-unit housing development that adds four additional buildings to the property.

On Wednesday, the Affordable Housing Trust heard from developer Robert Shan about the project that could cost as much as $20 million.  Planners are vying for $10 million through the MassHousing CommonWealth Builder Program created to facilitate the construction of single-family homes and condominiums affordable to households with moderate incomes.

"We're looking not just to do a one-off but to have a presence in Pittsfield, a presence in Berkshire County, and look to bring forward attainable and affordable housing to many communities," he said.

"We see this as as as the first step and it's ready to go. We've put a tremendous amount of work into it and we're looking forward to being able to work with you."

While utilizing the former club, the plot at 55 Linden Street would have five buildings of one to three-bedroom condominiums for first-time homebuyers.  The final costs have not yet been determined but it is estimated that a unit for those of the 80 percent area median income will cost between $150,000 and $200,000 and those in between 80 and 100 percent AMI will cost between $190,000 and $250,000.

The proposed condos are single-story units with an entrance from the street with the first-floor units having a private fenced backyard.  The existing building is staged for single-story condos and two-story townhouses.

Planners aim to bring the character of the 1872 structure into the new construction through colors and architectural elements.

"In developing housing for first-time buyers, we wanted a form that all had entries from grade, from outside without common corridors, without elevators to get that feeling of homeownership," Shan explained.

"While we can't afford to build and get these first-time families at the single-family homes, we wanted a hybrid product that really felt and operated like a home where a lot of the units have backyards, is its own community, etc. So in that, we have not maximized the density."

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