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Veterans Memorial tops its goal

When you drive along Route 52 near the Coal Grove exit, look up at the new flagpole on the overlook in Woodland Cemetery.

Monday, June 18, 2001

When you drive along Route 52 near the Coal Grove exit, look up at the new flagpole on the overlook in Woodland Cemetery. The American flag you see flying at half-staff is for the thousands of veterans from Lawrence County who served their country in wars dating back to the Revolutionary War.

In the next several months, you will see workmen preparing the ground for the Veterans Memorial that will soon be visible from the highway. The black granite sculpture will provide a backdrop for the Patriots Walk made from bricks honoring our veterans. Citizens who wanted to be a part of the memorial project paid for the 1,175 bricks that are etched with the names of veterans.

And it is still not too late to order a brick. The cost is $25, and you can place your order at The Ironton Tribune office, 2903 S. 5th St., Ironton, or by contacting a member of the memorial committee.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2001, the memorial honoring our veterans will be dedicated. Prior to that day, the four restored Civil War Parrott rifle cannons will be placed in their new home at the memorial.

Last Thursday, Flag Day, community leaders and interested citizens joined members of the Veterans Memorial Committee in the first flag-raising ceremony at the site of the memorial.

As those of us attending looked on, an honor guard from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post slowly raised the flag to the top of the mast as Marty Smith played taps on a bugle. The flag was provided by Betty Donovan in honor of her husband.

At the end of the ceremony, the flag was lowered to half-staff in honor of our deceased veterans.

As solemn as the ceremony was, the day was still one for celebration. Veterans Memorial Committee chair Frank McCown announced that the committee had reached its fund-raising goal of $100,000. The exact amount raised is $100,182.73, Judge McCown said.

Not only is there enough money to build the memorial and restore the Parrott cannons, there will be money to maintain the memorial and cannons in the future.

And the committee will continuing to raise funds for maintenance. This Thursday, June 21, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Fifth and Vernon streets, Ironton, the committee is sponsoring a spaghetti luncheon to raise more funds for the memorial. The suggested donation is $5, and tickets will be available at the door. A special thank you goes to Tipton’s Market for providing the food for the lunch.

Judge McCown pointed out during his remarks that some local citizens doubted that the committee could raise the $100,000 necessary for the project.

Obviously, those who doubted the money could be raised were wrong.

The support for this project – and others over the years – shows that Lawrence County residents will support worthwhile projects.

As the work on the Veterans Memorial comes to a close, we need to turn our attention to Memorial Hall in Ironton. That classic building, the former City Hall, is worth saving from decay and a wrecking ball. But one question remains: Who is going to step forward and lead the effort to restore the building?