Mayor Leo Fontaine called a press conference Friday at 2 p.m., gathering a group of local veterans and members of the Woonsocket War Memorial Committee to announce the city's Christmas tree ornament will depict the Place Jolicoeur war memorial.
The Place Jolicoeur Monument was erected to honor William Jolicoeur, a Woonsocket resident who gave his life in the forests of France during World War I. The monument also honors Henry, Louis and Alexander Gagne, who gave their lives during WWII. The memorial drew national attention in May when the FFRF demanded removal of a cross from the memorial and Fire Department's website. The challenge was ideological but is not yet legal.
Pepin Lumber on Cumberland Hill Road will sponsor the ornament this year, Fontaine announced. The Pepin family has been extremely supportive of the monument, Fonataine said. They manufactured and sold more than 1,000 white crosses to benefit the monument's restoration and defense. The crosses have adorned the lawns and homes of residents and business throughout the city and even statewide in a show of solidarity and support for our veterans and for the Place Jolicoeur Monument. "I would like to thank Pepin Lumber and the entire Pepin family for stepping forward to sponsor the ornament for this year. It is a fitting tribute to the monument which stands in honor of William Jolicoeur and the Gagne brothers, heroes who gave their lives for our nation.”
The ornaments will be a limited-issue series of 250. Each will be sold with a numbered card which will give a brief history of the monument. The cost of the ornament will remain at $15. The entire proceeds from the sale of the ornament normally go to support various cultural events in the city, but this year, a portion of the proceeds will go toward the city’s War memorial Defense and Preservation Fund.
The ornaments will be available beginning Dec. 17th and will be on sale at City Hall, 169 Main St., and at Pepin Lumber. Pre Orders will be taken by calling the Mayor’s office at 401-767-9205. For more information about the Place Jolicoeur monument you may visit www.ourmonument.webs.com.
“The entire community has pulled together in support of this monument, and as such it was a natural choice to honor with the annual ornament”