Eagle project memorializes heroes of the war on terror

by Judi Biederman

When someone describes an effort as “monumental,” they typically are referring to something that either resembles a monument; is exceptionally great in quantity, quality, extent or degree; or has historical, enduring significance.

They could be describing Anthony Cappetta’s Eagle Scout project, which meets all three definitions.

Anthony, the son of Anthony and Jill Cappetta of Yardley and a member of Newtown Boy Scout Troop 29, recently completed his Eagle project by creating a memorial on the grounds of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6393 at 1444 Yardley-Newtown Road in Yardley.

His efforts produced a garden with a large rock holding a bronze plaque that reads: “Dedicated to all those who have participated in or served in support of operations in the Global War on Terrorism from 11 September 2001.”

“This conflict is especially important to me as I am a child of 2001 and my father is a combat veteran of both Operation Iraqi and Operation Enduring Freedom,” Anthony explains.

His dad, who provided inspiration and support during the entire project, recently retired as a U.S. Army Colonel after 30 years of service.

“I’m very patriotic and I wanted to do something to remember all those who have sacrificed,” Anthony says. “As long as someone is remembered, a part of them stays alive. I’m trying to keep all those brave heroes alive,” he adds.

Although Anthony had a clear vision of his project, his path to completing it ran into some roadblocks.

His biggest and most time-consuming problem involved finding a location.

Having formulated a plan by last March, he approached several local municipalities to ask permission to place his memorial.

Although town officials initially seemed to like the idea, endless referrals to different committees took up months of time and numerous requests for revisions changed the project’s original meaning and intent.

Not willing to dilute the project he had envisioned, Anthony decided to look elsewhere and approached the VFW Post on Yardley-Newtown Road.

After attending the post’s August 13th meeting to make a presentation, he received a response in just three days.

Post Commander Russell Davidson wrote to him, saying, “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help with your Eagle Scout project. Your presentation…left a great and highly favorable impression upon our membership.”

The Post agreed to host the project on its property and made the first donation to help fund it.

Just two weeks later, Anthony had initiated several fundraising projects, sourced necessary materials, gathered a group of helpers and set up a schedule of necessary tasks.

He raised more than $1500 with a GoFundMe page, a car wash and collecting used clothing, and he recruited help from more than 25 Scouts and friends.

Although rainy weather provided some challenges, the project was basically completed with five days of scheduled activities.

Beginning in late August, Anthony and a crew dug up large circle, leveled and tamped down the dirt, installed a weed barrier, set down a base of rocks and sand for the memorial, mulched the area and installed a decorative rock border.

Once the large rock, which weighed 580 pounds, was delivered from Delaware Quarries, five older, stronger friends helped Anthony muscle it into place, lay it down so holes could be drilled to install the memorial plaque, then hoist it back up. “It took pure ‘boy power,’” he describes.

When weather permitted, Anthony added a variety of red, white and blue flowers to the garden and installed several small American flags. Finally, on September 29th, the VFW Post held a dedication ceremony for Anthony and the project he had waited so long to complete.

Anthony says his experiences taught him determination along with the importance of teamwork, cooperation, people management and good planning, which sometimes included a back-up plan when things didn’t go quite as anticipated.

Through it all, he appreciated the guidance of his dad, Troop 29 Scoutmaster Dave Clark and Assistant Scoutmaster Gordon Todderud, and VFW Commander Davidson. “Many supported me on my scouting journey,” he says. “I thank them all.”

Now a senior at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, Anthony is applying to attend West Point and plans become a U.S. Army Infantry officer.

In the meantime, he hopes his Eagle Scout project will provide a local gathering place and that it will be the beginning of a larger area where other memorials might be placed. “My project is a thank you to all who served in the Global War on Terror,” he says. “I hope it educates our community about the contemporary sacrifices made by our servicemen and women in a timeless manner.”

PHOTO CAP: Anthony Cappetta with his completed Eagle project.