Minetto American Legion to salute Afghanistan vets

The Minetto American Legion Post 486 this week received approval from the town board to honor veterans of the Afghanistan War. Pictured above surrounding the future monument site; from left to right, Post 486 Commander Donald Phillips, Post 486 Adjunct John Mantaro and Minetto board member Joe Wallace. Officials anticipate having the monument in place by Memorial Day.

MINETTO — Veterans who served in Afghanistan will be honored in Minetto as soon as next year with a memorial saluting their efforts, sacrifices and perseverance.

Minetto town leaders this week approved a measure allowing the Minetto-based American Legion Post 486 to acquire and install a memorial dedicated to veterans who served during the 20-year Afghanistan War.

The war started in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden made the decision to remove the American military presence there, bringing all 2,500 U.S. troops home, according to the Department of Defense.

To honor those who served, John Mantaro, the American Legion Post 486 adjunct, told The Palladium-Times this week that the veterans’ organization wanted to do something fitting for all the service members who were involved in that conflict.

“The Afghanistan War is over,” Mantaro said. “It’s a duty of veterans to let everyone know that we gave up our time and a lot of us gave up our lives. For veterans who have returned from Afghanistan, something should be said to honor and recognize their service.”

The monument will rest at the northeast plot in the town of Minetto’s Veterans Park located prominently on State Route 48 in the town. The 15-inch by 55-inch monument will feature the dates “2001” and “2021,” with “Dedicated to those who served” inscribed on the stone. It will also feature a medal on the stone.

The roughly $3,300 monument will be produced locally and Legion personnel anticipate placing the monument before Memorial Day next year, according to Mantaro.

Minetto Town Supervisor John Familo on Monday said the local American Legion’s efforts were “greatly appreciated.”

“I want to thank the American Legion for funding this. They have always been wonderful for the town,” Familo said, pointing also to the legion’s annual effort to place flags at the local cemetery. “It is great for them to do this.”

Post 486 Commander Donald Phillips told The Palladium-Times Wednesday the monument will make a great addition to the park.

“It’s a great idea that our Legion came up with this monument for the Afghanistan war,” he said. “The men, women, and soldiers over there, the ones that died and ones that came home, we have monuments for all the conflicts and this one fits right in. It’s a great idea to show respect to all the soldiers from the Afghanistan War.”

American Legion member and Minetto board member Joe Wallace echoed Phillips’ sentiment.

“One of the things we have supported was the military here, and honoring them in this circle through the Afghanistan stone will be our biggest addition because within the last 20 years it has happened,” Wallace said. “I think the respect these men and women deserve is part of what we are doing here.”

The Veterans Park features a stone dedicated to every conflict the American armed forces have served in, including the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War I, World War II, and Operation Desert Storm.

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