What better time to pay homage to our finest than on a day already set aside in their honor.
It will be with heavy hearts and heartfelt emotions, then, that the Palmerton Veterans Memorial will be dedicated Sunday at noon in the borough park.
That the landmark occasion will be celebrated on Veterans Day, in a year in which the borough commemorates its Centennial, no less, only makes the event all the more special.
For those who attend, tomorrow's dedication will most assuredly be bittersweet.
On one hand, the day is a celebration of the lives of the heroic men and women who so valiantly fought for our country's freedoms and liberties.
And on the other, it's a harsh reminder of the pain and sacrifice they endured, the likes of which most of us could never even attempt to fathom.
I, for one, will take great pride in the observance, as my grandfather, Edward J. Horvath, will be among the veterans to have his name engraved on the memorial.
My grandfather was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, who participated in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He attained the rank of staff sergeant.
I cannot begin to express just how thankful I am to know that my grandfather's contributions will forever be immortalized courtesy of the monument.
The Palmerton United Veterans Organization decided to build the memorial, with the borough's permission, as a tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and to those who served to preserve our freedom.
The memorial is located on a section of land 40 feet by 60 feet in size in the lower southwest corner of the borough park, where the present flagpole is situated, and includes a list of all veterans' names on granite monuments from all time periods of service.
It includes the 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.
To qualify, veterans need not have seen action in wartime. Peacetime veterans will also be honored.
The memorial consists of 24 slabs of granite, and contain the names of 180 veterans per slab engraved on the granite. The centerpiece is a sculpture entitled "Some Gave All," and depicts a gun and helmet. It is surrounded by a wide walkway and standing stones with the names of veterans. Those who were killed in action are named on the base of the sculpture.
Be sure to take a moment to revel in its beauty, as the memorial truly is a real sight to behold.
It is a true testament to all the individuals who have tirelessly given of themselves to ensure the memorial has come to fruition.
I tip my cap to them for having the foresight and wherewithal to embark on such an arduous task.
It has been my distinct pleasure to have had the opportunity to report on the various stages of the project, from start to finish.
Rare are the instances that such an event is able to bring as much joy to the hearts of an innumerable amount of people as this will.
After the dedication ceremony, the PUVO will host the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade at 2 p.m. in the borough.
The parade is being held in the borough in honor of Palmerton's Centennial celebration.
By all accounts, Sunday is shaping up to be quite the day in the history of Palmerton.
Don't let the opportunity to be a part of it slip through the cracks.