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Arlington’s Coast Guard memorial gets facelift

Mar. 17, 2013 - 10:53AM   |  
The Coast Guard World War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Coast Guard World War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association)
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Restoration of the Coast Guard World War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery will be completed earlier than expected, thanks in part to donors who exceeded the project’s fundraising goals by more than $40,000.

Originally slated to wrap up in April, improvements to the pyramid-shaped memorial, on the cemetery’s Coast Guard Hill, will be completed this month, said Michael Bivens, operations manager for the Marble Doctor, the company fixing the monument.

The Washington, D.C., chapter of the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association raised the money for the restoration on the almost 85-year-old memorial. The marble monument, set on a foundation of granite, needed a total restoration, said Carol Frysiek, manager of business development with the Marble Doctor. Frysiek said work done on the memorial included fixing discoloration, filling in holes and cracks on the marble and polishing.

The project cost about $98,000 but the group raised $140,000, said Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jon Ostrowski, chapter president.

The rest of the money will be put into a trust fund at the Coast Guard Foundation to pay for future contracts to maintain the 12-foot monument, he said. Recommended maintenance for the memorial includes cleaning and resealing the pyramid and base, repair of loose grout, and resealing the seagull in the monument, according to Marble Doctor staff.

Once the money runs out, Ostrowski anticipates the association will conduct more fundraising to pay for further maintenance.

The memorial was dedicated May 23, 1928, to commemorate Coast Guardsmen who lost their lives in World War I, said Chris Havern, a historian at the Coast Guard Historian’s Office in Washington, D.C.

Although the monument was originally intended to honor those World War I vets, Ostrowski said it has come to represent all Coast Guardsmen.

“It is the main historic symbol for us in the cemetery,” he said.

A rededication ceremony for the memorial is scheduled for May 27. The commandant and the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard are expected to attend. Donors to the restoration effort will be honored during a reception set for May 23 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial auditorium at Arlington.

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