Lights now brighten Amherst’s downtown war murals by artist Mike Sekletar.
A sunset ceremony was held Sunday at the Park Avenue municipal parking lot to dedicate the lighting, which was made possible by thousands of dollars in donations.
As the centerpiece of the event, U.S. Navy veteran Bob Welsh took the stage to recite story-poems.
In rhythm and rhyme, he told how the Marine Corps earned the nickname “devil dogs” among German soldiers in World War I, fighting their way to the front lines while the French retreated. He also told the tale of a 16-year-old girl who rode through the night to call Connecticut hundreds of militiamen to arms after the British burned the village of Danbury, Conn.
In costume, the Soldiers of History took center stage. The Grafton-based reenactment group salutes veterans of all American periods by donning true-to-the-era battle uniforms, marching in time with Revolutionary muskets, Civil War kepi caps, World War I khakis, and the sage green of World War II.
The event came after more than a year of work to raise cash for LED illumination of the murals.
The story-tall paintings pay homage to the veterans of World War II, Vietnam, and Korea. Sekletar, an Amherst Steele alumni, is working on a new entry to the mural wall — it will be a tribute to veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.