Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 2, 2014

Memorial wall: Princeton project merits support

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — The new memorial wall project planned by the Denver Foundation for the Princeton area is a good idea that merits community support. The proposed development would honor local war heroes while also helping to finance future Honor Flights for area veterans.

Work on the memorial wall is expected to begin this summer. The wall, which will be built next to the Memorial Building in Princeton, will have bricks featuring the names of local veterans, according to Dreama Denver of the Denver Foundation. Proceeds from the sale of the bricks will fund trips offered by the West Virginia Always Free Honor Flight. The program provides free trips to Washington so veterans can see the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War memorials.

The foundation has already sponsored four Honor Flight trips to Washington, and the next Honor Flight is scheduled for May 21. Planning for the fifth event is now underway, and Denver has already been in contact with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as part of the project.

Approximately 700 of the 3,000 memorial wall bricks have been sold to date. The bricks are being sold for $50 a piece. Lowe’s of Princeton and Bluefield have donated all 3,000 bricks for the project.

“We have enough now that we feel we can break ground,” Denver said last week.

People who purchase the bricks can put on them the names and other information about a veteran. “Each brick has three lines, and you can on those three lines say pretty much whatever you want to say,” Denver added. “It could be their name, rank, and the conflicts or divisions they served in.”

Applications for the memorial wall are available at the Memorial Building in Princeton, the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, the Lowe’s locations in Princeton and Bluefield and by contacting Little Buddy Radio.

We believe the memorial wall is a great idea, and a good way for area residents to honor family members and friends who have served our country. And those who help with this worthwhile community endeavor also will be helping to ensure a continuation of the annual Honor Flights.

Many of these veterans waited years to tell their stories. In some cases, the memories were too traumatic or they simply wanted to get on with their lives when they came home. Now in the twilight of their lives, they want to share their experiences so they can be preserved for future generations.

World War II veterans have waited for decades to see a memorial honoring the sacrifices they and their comrades made for their country. That’s why the annual Honor Flights are so important for these brave war heroes.

One recent Honor Flight trip took two terminally ill World War II veterans and one terminally ill Vietnam War veteran to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials. It was literally their last opportunity to see how their country had honored them.