Renowned military sculptor and naval historian Andrew Chernak recently visited the Coaldale Veterans and Women's Memorial.

Chernak's sculptures are located at many military installations and military cemeteries, including Gettysburg. Chernak, of Philadelphia, is the holder of the Purple Heart, Air Medal, and other combat decorations earned during service in Vietnam. He recently finished a very large bronze mural for a new Veterans Affairs Hospital in Miami, Florida. The mural, honoring a U.S. Army corpsman who won the Medal of Honor, is in the main lobby of the hospital.

"We are very fortunate to have two of Andrew Chernak's creations here at the Coaldale Veterans and Women's Memorial," said William Gaddes, designer of the Coaldale Memorials.

In 2009, memorial organizers dedicated a "Gold Star Mother" bronze plaque. In October, through Chernak, they received the magnificent Battlefield Cross.

"We have attempted to honor not only those who served our nation, but those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. There are 53 stars on our 15 granite columns, representing those who were killed in action in World War II. Immediately in front of the wall is the 'WW II Walk of Honor' for those 53 young men," Gaddes said.

In the sidewalk leading to the Women's memorial Garden, there is a "Gold Star Mother Walk of Honor," containing the names of the mothers of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in World War II and in the Vietnam War.

The Battlefield Cross will be dedicated during Memorial Day services in May of 2011.

"This beautiful and significant monument will honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom," he said.

The helmet can be "rung," emitting a beautiful tone. This will be done at the ceremony to honor those veterans who have passed between May 30, 2010 and May 30, 2011.

The Battlefield Cross will complete the Coaldale Veterans Memorial. The Memorial to Women remains to be completed. Plans include a statue honoring those women who prayed for the safe return of their loved ones from "Harm's Way," and four black granite images of Coaldale women contributing to development of our nation. These will be placed on the Wishing Well Memorial.

For more information about the Memorial to Women, contact Mildred Flyzik at (570) 645-9605.