Wear it loud, wear it proud.
Perhaps there's no better way to salute those who gave the ultimate sacrifice then to don a T-shirt in their memory.
At least, that's what members of the Palmerton United Veteran's Organization had in mind for their latest fundraiser.
The PUVO and the borough plan to build a memorial to honor all of the Palmerton area servicemen and women as a tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and to those who served to preserve our freedom.
The memorial will include names of veterans from the American Revolutionary Era to the present a span of over 230 years who either entered the service while a resident of the Palmerton area, or who have lived in the area at least half of their adult life.
The T-shirts – red and blue in color – read Palmerton Veterans Memorial across the top, and "Some Gave All" across the bottom.
They are available for purchase at a cost of $18, according to Joe Uhnak, first vice commander, Palmerton United Veteran's Organization.
"This is for all the veterans, especially all those who did not come home," Uhnak said. "Any money from the sale will be used to defray the cost of the memorial."
Uhnak said arrangements may be made to pick up the T-shirts at the VFW, located at 2020 Forest Inn Road, or by calling (610) 826-6936, or Uhnak at (610) 826-2902.
The organization personally thanked Bernie Shea and Shea's Hardware for their assistance with the T-shirts.
Ed Moyer, Legion commander, said the organization sold about 70 T-shirts at a stand they set up at this past weekend's Palmerton Community Festival.
"We did get an awful good response from the veterans," Moyer said. "We collected information from about 40-50 people."
Moyer said it's important for the necessary information to be submitted so that each veteran who qualifies is recognized.
"That's our biggest concern," he said. "We don't want to miss any veteran."
A series of meetings produced a draft drawing. The centerpiece was donated by Richard Nothstein, a borough council member who spearheaded the project.
The centerpiece is a sculpture entitled "Some Gave All," and depicts a gun and helmet. The sculpture will be surrounded by a wide walkway and standing stones with the names of veterans.
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.
The memorial will be located on a section of land 35 feet by 40 feet in size in the lower southwest corner of the borough park, where the present flagpole is situated, and will include a list of all veterans' names on granite monuments from all time periods of service.
The sculpture – one of 10 that were created – will consist of between 30 and 40 slabs of granite and contain the names of about 200 veterans per slab engraved on the granite. It was made by James N. Mur of Sedona, Ariz., who sent a plaque to Nothstein that told about the sculpture's beginnings. A poem by Major Michael Davis O'Donnell on one side of the base was written for soldiers killed in a battle in Vietnam.
The memorial will be dedicated on Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, to mark the 100-year celebration of the borough.
To date, about $70,000 of the expected $123,000 cost has been raised. An additional $10,000 in grant money could also be received after the Corbett administration approved $48 million for local projects sought by specific lawmakers popularly known as WAMs, for "walking around money."
Opportunities to say thank you to veterans can be made 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-inch by 14-inch granite block for $200, and can include a military emblem; a 6-inch by 9-inch paver for $50; or a 4-inch by 8-inch paver for $40.
The necessary information should include the individual's name, branch of service, dates of service, rank, date of birth, residence at time of induction, and years living in the Palmerton area.
The information should be sent to the Palmerton Legion, P.O. Box 84 Palmerton, PA 18071, or Palmerton VFW, 2020 Forest Inn Road, Palmerton, PA 18071.
Moyer said information about the memorial can be viewed on Facebook, under Palmerton Area Servicemen and Women Memorial, and on palmertonuvo.org.
Anyone with questions, or those who want to submit the information, may contact Uhnak at (610) 826-2902, or firstname.lastname@example.org, Moyer at (610) 504-6680, or email@example.com, or Nothstein at (610) 826-7339, or firstname.lastname@example.org.