By Jasmine Willis
MOUNT MORRIS – The Metal Poppy Field that began to come alive last year has finally been finished in time for Veteran’s Day.
Due to strict weather conditions the ceremony was put on hold to honor the work put in place for this project last year. Now we have had a Covid 19 Pandemic that has shut things down for a long time. Despite all of the trials the project has officially been complete.
On Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. there will be a small raising flag ceremony at the Livingston County Veterans Monument on Gypsy Lane. This will honor the Metal Poppy Field Project. The ceremony will honor the service and sacrifice of military service members, veterans, and their families.
Jason Skinner, Livingston County Veteran Services director said, “In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be concerned about the health and safety of our residents – especially our seniors. We encourage folks to watch the video of the ceremony as an alternative to visiting in-person.” Skinner continued, “Those visiting the monument must comply with COVID-19 regulations at all times. You must wear face coverings and maintain six feet of distance from other individuals.”
The video of the ceremony will be available on the Livingston County’s YouTube Chanel.
Olie Olson, Genesee Valley BOCES in Mount Morris, Metal Trades instructor worked with veterans, veteran’s families, and students to make this project possible.
The monument was constructed to serve as a lasting, permanent reminder to both remember and celebrate the achievements, accomplishments and sacrifices of the County's community of Veterans. These bright red poppies range in all different sizes from one to three feet tall. Hundreds of them stand on a painted American Flag to honor local veterans for their sacrifice to our country. This open-air monument stands for public viewing and self-guided tours. All branches of the military have been honored.
Paul Holubek told this local reporter that the day it was finally finished was an impressive sight for everyone involved. He and his son, John Paul worked on several of these metal poppies. They flew a drone over to capture some bird’s eye views of the monument in breathtaking footage.
“We were impressed to see what they had done with it. It really looks amazing up there. We had a chance to walk around and look at the poppies we had made. We were able to see the breathtaking view of it from the sky,” he said. “I know they are planning on doing a big ceremony at some point. Right now, people are able to walk around and enjoy the memorial. I was thinking I would bring my veteran’s truck up to the memorial ceremony. I have a truck I have been working on with my son that shows Iwo Jima, Korean War, and Battle of Normandy. My father and uncle were in those battles. I used photos from his war photo album and information I gathered to wrap around the truck.”
2nd Lt. John Paul Holubek added that the metal poppy project was important to him as well. He was honored to make some for the POWs and MIAs. He has been taught all of his life to respect veterans and comes from a long tradition of military background. He hopes that people will show up and pay tribute to all of the veterans who were part of this project.
The official Livingston County Veterans Monument Ceremony is scheduled for Flag Day, June 14 2021. For more information contact the Livingston County Veteran’s Service Agency at 585-243-7960. If you chose to visit the memorial before, during or after the Veteran’s Day ceremony wear a mask and social distance. Any updates for the memorial will be on the Livingston County Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/LivCoNY/