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Area veterans dedicate Purple Heart Memorial

In 1782 then-Gen. George Washington ordered an official honor be created for those soldiers who had performed bravely in the American Revolution.

This honor, initially called the Badge of Merit, would later become known for its vivid hue that visually separates itself from all the other commendations this country bestows on its soldiers: The Purple Heart.

Friday, on the day officially set aside as national Purple Heart Day, local soldiers gathered at Woodland Cemetery to pay tribute to Lawrence County’s men and women who earned that purple badge.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 764 officially dedicated its Purple Heart Memorial at Woodland Cemetery.

The memorial was installed a year ago, said Ron McFann, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 764. “But we just never got around to dedicating it until today.”

Purple Heart 764 First Vice-Commander Charles Meadows said he appreciated the area citizens whose donations helped pay for the monument.

“We sent a lot of letters to people for donations,” Meadows said. “If not for the people of Lawrence County this wouldn’t be possible.”

The memorial is near the flagpole on the v-shaped island visitors encounter immediately after they cross the bridge into the cemetery.

A moment before he gave the invocation, the Rev. Dave Schug, pastor of Woodland Chapel, thanked the veterans who gathered for the dedication. In his prayer he thanked God for those who were willing to serve their country and asked that the memorial serve as a reminder to future generations what previous ones had sacrificed.

“May it be seen by thousands as they come into this cemetery and may it remind them of the price paid for this country,” Shug said in his invocation.

Schug’s sentiments were echoed by Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship, who said he was honored to be invited to stand with Purple Heart members at the dedication of their memorial and praised their service to their country.

“I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart,” Blankenship said.

Lawrence County Veterans Service Officer Jack Welz congratulated the Purple Heart members on their successful campaign to have a memorial and thanked them for having served their country in the first place.

In addition to the member of the Purple Heart local chapter, the AmVets 141 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 2761 of Symmes Valley provided the honor guard.