The Palmerton United Veterans Organization dedicated 244 new names and blocks to the veterans memorial in the borough park Monday, bringing the total to 3,821 honored.
Steve Vlossak, judge advocate of American Legion Post 269 of Palmerton, said the dedication was to honor and remember all those who have served our country; especially those veterans who gave their lives for us, as well as Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.
"Every soldier on this memorial had the courage to face their own fears and protect our nation," Mayor Chris Olivia. "As the mayor, and a veteran of the Vietnam War, I am so proud of the community of Palmerton for continuing to honor all who were, and are, a part of our armed services."
Olivia added, "The names on our memorial show that our nation continues to be the home of the brave."
"Many of those named are gone, but they are not forgotten," he said. "Their names, etched in granite on these pillars, offer all of us a moment to reflect, and remember, what they gave up so that our nation remains free."
Richard Nothstein, a goodwill ambassador who also serves on Palmerton Borough Council, said it was a true privilege for him to work on the monument.
"It was an honor for me to deal and work with the veterans and veterans committee," Nothstein said. "One year ago today was probably the most emotional day I spent in Palmerton, Pa."
Nothstein then thanked the community for financial support of the veterans memorial, of which he noted the amount of money raised exceeded that of the project.
Carbon County Director of Veterans Affairs Henry Desrosiers said, "It is a great day to be a veteran, and I am privileged and proud to be part of this group, those who have done so much for so many. It is a good think what we do today."
Honor those who served
"Veterans Day is a time to honor not just those who have fought in battle, but all of the men and women who served in our nation's Armed Forces," Desrosiers said. "Not all veterans have seen war, but a common bond that they share is an oath in which they expressed their willingness to die defending this nation."
Desrosiers added that the purpose of the day is to "Recognize all of our honored veterans, whose service has allowed our nation to prosper, and allowed us all to live our lives in freedom."
Not only should we recognize our veterans, but also their families; those who are left behind to attend to life on the home front; to honor the memory of the dedicated servicemen and women who never returned home, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our country and its way of life, and to remember the price that has been paid for our freedom; to our MIA's and our POW's as a nation to offer our strength, courage and support those families who still hope and pray for their loved ones' safe return; and to support those who serve our country today, the men and women serving in over 150 countries throughout the world, Desrosiers said.
Desrosiers said it is our job to remind everyone especially our youth of today what price was paid, and what the term Duty, Honor, Country, means.
"We must protect our nation as much today as we did years ago," he said. "Our service to this nation is not over, and freedom is not free. We have to make it happen, and each generation has to make it happen."
George H. Duell Jr., Army Reserve Ambassador for Pennsylvania, said, "As we join together on this Veterans Day, it ist most appropriate that we gather at our community Veterans Memorial to remember those that served and sacrificed for all of us."
"Those men and women served when our nation called them to wear a uniform of our military," Duell said. "With this memorial, we are daily reminded of the service each one provided, and not just on Veterans Day."
Duell added, "As one walks in the memorial, it is easy to realize that there are thousands of individual stories; some have been told, some will never be told. "These walls contain so many stories; the brave that went in harms way, but did not return to enjoy life, to whom we all owe forever a debt of gratitude. And reluctant heroes are remembered here; those that were drafted, those that served a year or two, and those that served a career, each contributing to the history of our nation and its military, and bringing credit to this community."
Moment of silence
Ed Moyer, Commander, American Legion Post 269, asked for a moment of silence for all area veterans that have passed away in the past year.
He then updated visitors on the progress of the memorial, in which he said 95 bricks have been added, as well as 248 names have been added to the pillars.
The committee will continue to accept names for the wall, and applications for the bricks, said Moyer, who added that when a name is submitted for the wall, to include service dates, as well as the time lived in the Palmerton area.
Moyer said three benches have been added this year; from the Pereira Family in honor of their father Gerald, a World War II Army Veteran; the Kannapel Family, in honor of their father, George, a World War I Veteran; and from the family and friends of Ramon Carazo, a disabled World War II Army Air Corp Veteran, and Palmerton's postmaster from 1948 to 1980.
Two names have also been added to the center statue "Some Gave All", Marine Lance Corporal Dennis R. Andrew, who died in Vietnam on March 21,1966, and Army Specialist Four Charles R. Jones, who died in Vietnam on Dec. 4, 1969.
"The memorial committee thanks everyone here today," Moyer said. "We thank Palmerton, and we thank our veterans, both past and present, and God Bless America."
Additional names for the stones are now being accepted, along with the purchase of any 4-by-8, 6-by-9, and 10-by-14 granite blocks.
The names, and bricks, can be purchased by calling Moyer at 570-261-9086 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Uhnak at 610-826-2902, or email@example.com.
The new names and bricks will be accepted until July 1, 2014. They will then be installed and dedicated on Veterans Day 2014.