Granite angel dedicated in Coaldale
Panther Valley JROTC member Amanda Fegley lays a spread of yellow roses on the wishing well in the Women's Garden of the Coaldale Veteran's Memorial complex in Coaldale. On the well is a specially carved granite angel, dedicated to Coaldale's Gold Star mothers and patriotic women. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Coaldale’s veterans’ memorial was the center of Memorial Day weekend rites on Sunday.
The day included the dedication of a 26-inch tall, specially carved granite angel mounted on the Women’s Memorial Wishing Well in the Women’s Garden of the Veteran’s Memorial.
The dedication occurred during one of two Memorial Day weekend services in Coaldale. The first service occurred on a veterans’ memorial site along Route 209 in the Seek section of the community.
State Sen. David Argall served as the speaker at both services. Korean War veteran William Gaddes, retired SSGT U.S. Air Force, also made comments. Gaddes designed the granite angel.
The Veterans’ Memorial complex containing the Wishing Well is located next to the borough hall on Third Street.
Gaddes said the memorial represents the completion of the Women’s Memorial and honors all women, not just those who served in the military.
Special mention was made of Faye Ruth Lewis, whose photo is mounted atop the Wishing Well. Gaddes said Lewis, who died in September 2015, “was an educator, citizen, philanthropist and patriot.”
Also participating at the two services were the Lansford UVO, Coaldale Mayor Joel Johnson, the Panther Valley JROTC and the Panther Valley Junior/Senior High School Band.
Amanda Fegley, a member of the JROTC, placed a spread of yellow roses in front of the angel.
Argall praised the veteran groups of Coaldale for continuing to improve the veterans’ memorials. He said, “Not only are you keeping it up, you’re keeping it growing.”
He said that in past wars, “Mostly men did the bleeding – not all – but the suffering was 50/50. While the men did most of the fighting, there was a lot of suffering in towns like Coaldale and all over the country.”
The suffering was from families and loved ones worrying about those in the military, Argall said.
Gaddes said there are 55 Gold Star mothers “who lost their precious sons during World War II. This is four times the national average.”
He said 22 1/2 percent of Coaldale residents served in World War II, more than twice the national average of 10 percent for a town.
In the first month of World War II, four Coaldale residents died, he said.
Johnson said the patriots who have died for freed “have given us a lesson in living love.”
He said, “Those who gave all did so out of love: Love of their faith, love of their family and love of their friends. They died for God and country.”
“Today is a small gesture, but a significant one,” he said. “America should always keep a vigil for those who have not returned. Without their devotion, our flag might not be flying here today.”
Remarks were also given by Commander Michael Vigoda of VFW Post 6982, Coaldale.
At both sites, there was a reading of the names of Coaldale’s 13 military veterans who have died since last Memorial day.
Noah Berk read General John A. Logan’s Memorial Day Order, and Kendra Nelson read “Flanders Field.”
James Adamitis read The Gettysburg Address.
Honor guards were provided by Coaldale Veterans and the Panther Valley JROTC.
Coaldale Fire Department members also lined up for the services.