Plans for the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park are progressing nicely, and the volunteer group behind it is to be commended.
The Brooke County Veterans Park Foundation, and its leader, Howard Armstrong, have put hundreds of hours into planning this memorial for local servicemen and women.
To date the foundation for the future park by the paddle boat pond at Brooke Hills Park has been laid. A stone block has been established for a bronze sculpture, and at each side of the bronze piece are cement pads on which will rest granite ledgers representing Flanders Field, the French battlefield where many American soldiers were killed and buried in World War I; and Arlington National Cemetery, the military cemetery maintained by the Army in Virginia.
Behind the bronze sculpture will be a granite wall bearing the names of local service members who lost their lives while serving at wartime and those, living and presumed dead, who were prisoners of war.
Sections of the wall will be reserved for those who died in World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the POWs.
A separate monument will honor Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith, a 21-year-old Wellsburg native who was killed in a skirmish in Iraq in 2004.
In fact, the idea for the park was that of Joan Nicholson, Smith's aunt, who suggested that all local veterans be remembered for their sacrifices, and for that we thank her.
This beautiful park is coming fruition, with many area residents and businesses coming forth to aid in funding the creation. There's also been numerous fundraisers, including dinners, dances and bike runs, that have directly benefited the project, but more help is needed.
Committee members are hoping more donations will help them reach the estimated $200,000 cost and its completion date of Veterans Day this Nov. 11.
Granite pavers that cost $150 each will be laid at the site, and sponsors may inscribe the pavers with the name of a veteran or any loved one, living or dead. And individuals, groups and businesses that have donated $1,000 each or more will have their names inscribed on a separate monument at the site.
Time is running out for the inscribed pavers, with the deadline being Monday. So we encourage those who haven't donated to this worthy memorial to do so. Armstrong can be contacted (304) 670-2224.