Local sculptor worked on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

FALLS VILLAGE, Conn. (AP) — Arlington National Cemetery is one of the United States’ most solemn, yet inspirational sites. The connection between that hallowed ground and the town of Falls Village was made known during Monday’s Memorial Day service.

Selectman David Barger spoke about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a central point at Arlington that is dedicated to the deceased U.S. service members whose remains have not been identified. The tomb was sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones, who, along with his wife, Mildred, purchased a home on Undermountain Road in May 1924.

In 1929 the Fine Arts Commission looked at a pool of accomplished sculptors to create the memorial, Barger said. Jones was chosen and Lorimer Rich was named the architect.

“History shows that selecting Jones and Rich may have been the easy part as delays in the selection of marble took nearly two years before the flawless 50-ton block was brought to Arlington,” said Barger.

Jones began the task in January 1931, sculpting the three figures of Victory, Peace and Valor and the six inverted memorial wreaths on the tomb. His work was completed in April 1932.

Jones went on to work for the Institute of Heraldry where he designed more than 40 military service medals, including the World War II Victory Medal. He also sculpted the 50-foot high bronze doors for the library in Brooklyn and the statue of Christ at St. Matthew’s Church in Washington, D.C. He died in 1969.

Barger thanked resident Priscilla Belcher for bringing the information about Jones to his attention.

Selectman Greg Marlowe announced that Fred Laser was chosen Volunteer of the Year. Laser has been on the Planning and Zoning Commission for decades. He led the town through the first creation of the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

“This plan turned out to be a road map for the Planning and Zoning Commission and other town departments for future foresight of what our citizens wanted and valued as the town grew older,” Marlowe said.

Laser also realized there were other areas that needed to be addressed, such as a village septic system and workforce housing.

“During all the history of this immeasurably important volunteerism, this person carried it out with complete compassion when needed, always in a courteous and professional manner and most notably in a quiet unassuming way,” Marlowe said. “His leadership and style are a perfect example for those younger people in our town who are wondering how to volunteer and give back to their community.”

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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com