The United Veterans Organization is planning a veterans' memorial in Palmerton Borough Park, said Steve Vlossak. The organization was using the Community Festival as an outlet to let people know about the project.
The UVO is a combination of Palmerton American Legion Post 269 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7134. It has been in the area since 1921, said Ed Moyer, commander of the American Legion.
A series of meetings produced a draft drawing. The centerpiece was donated by Dick Nothstein, a borough council member and a strong supporter. It is a sculpture of a gun and helmet with sayings on the side of the base. It will be surrounded by a wide walkway and standing stones with the names of veterans.
Each stone will hold 200 names. Every three or four years the names will be updated as new veterans are included.
"We were going to do only one side but the space in the park won't hold 55 stones. We are now talking 27 or 28 stones," said Moyer
The veterans can be from the Revolutionary War to the present. They have to be from the Palmerton Area School District or have lived in the district at least half their lives after their military service.
"We have over 3,500 names. We started with the honor roll," Moyer said. Someone like Al Kohler, 93, who enlisted in Easton cannot be excluded, because he has lived here 75 years and has done a lot for the community.
Those who were killed in action will be named on the base of the sculpture.
To qualify, veterans need not have seen action. Peacetime veterans will also be honored.
"We are trying to get the names of all veterans," said Vlossak. Information about veterans may be sent to American Legion, PO Box 84, Palmerton, Pa. 18071, or Palmerton VFW, 2020 Forest Inn Rd., Palmerton, Pa. 18071, or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The idea began as a plan to rebuild the honor roll made in 1945, and then it was decided to go beyond World War II and include all veterans. Perpetual care is included in the plan and Moyer said as long as there is a Legion or VFW it will be kept up. Flowers are part of the design.
"We will try to keep it looking as nice as possible," said Moyer.
Land has been provided near the present flagpole in the park. It will be a section 35-by-40 feet in size.
The expected cost will be $123,000 with $30,000 of that amount on hand. The booth at the festival was a fundraiser as well as providing education about the project. Grants will be applied for. Some letters are out requesting financial help.
Vlossak said Moyer has been canvassing cemeteries and got 1,000 names. They found nine veterans in Palmerton who were in the Revolutionary War.
"We are trying to contact class reunion committees and get the names of people who graduated from Palmerton but may have moved," he said.
The sculpture, entitled Some Gave All, was made by James N. Mur of Sedona, Ariz. It is one of only 10 that were created. Mur sent a plaque to Nothstein telling about the sculpture's beginnings.
A poem by Major Michael Davis O'Donnell is on one side of the base. It was written for soldiers killed in a battle in Vietnam.
"We hope to have it done by November 2012 to coincide with the Veterans Day parade and the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Palmerton," said Moyer.
Opportunities to say thank you to veterans can be by a listing on the granite wall individual or family name for a $500 donation, and a corporate or business name for $750.
Walkway opportunities include a 10-by-14 inch granite block for $200 and can include a military emblem, a 6-by-9 inch paver for $50 or a 4-by-8 inch paver for $40. For information about this project contact R. Bruce Reiner, Veterans Memorial Committee, VFW, 2020 Forest Inn Road, Palmerton, Pa. 18071.
For information about the memorial project check palmertonuvo.org
Nothstein organizes the annual trip to Washington DC for veterans.
Palmerton will host the Veterans Day parade this year. It will be held Nov. 7, 2 to 4 p.m.; with a rain date of Nov. 14.