BETHLEHEM UNVEILS NEW MONUMENT
BETHLEHEM – Marine veteran John Nanny got it right Saturday night when the village of Bethlehem unveiled its new monument to the men and women who have served and currently are serving in the War on Terrorism.
“You can count on Bethlehem to do things first class. I think you will be very surprised and happy with what you see,” Nanny said
Prior to the capstone fireworks celebrating the Fourth of July weekend at Bethlehem Community Park, village residents and local veterans turned out to see the monument erected adjacent to the Vietnam War memorial already in place in the park. Hand-carved into the stone is a scene depicting a soldier, a Humvee, mountains and desert.
The stone contains the inscription: “Dedicated with reverence, gratitude to all U.S. Military who have honorably served and are serving our nation under God. Dedicated by the Village of Bethlehem 2013.”
The memorial, at a cost of $15,000, was made possible by numerous donations including funds from the Ohio County Commission. Commissioners Randy Wharton and Tim McCormick attended the ceremony led by Bethlehem Mayor Garrett ”Rhett” Daniel.
Seven-year-old Drew Altizer sang the national anthem and several letters of well wishes from U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., were read.
Wheeling resident Michael Novotney, an Army paratrooper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the memorial means a great deal to those who served and currently serve in the military. Novotney now works as an outreach specialist with the local Veterans Outreach Center. Prior to the ceremony, he gave credit to the Vietnam veterans who helped him and others serving in the War on Terrorism to transition home.
“They made sure we weren’t treated like they were. I’m honored I can be here and help dedicate this monument in honor of current, past and future soldiers overseas. The War on Terrorism is not over and we never know where it will take us,” Novotney commented. “It’s great the people of Bethlehem did this in such a short time.”
Ginny Caseman Mancuso, widow of the late Art Mancuso who was a decorated Army veteran of the Vietnam War, gave her thoughts on the monument. She said her husband, father, brother and sister-in-law all served their country in the armed services. She said when she asked her brother Joseph Caseman Jr. why he served, he told her “You do it for the guy on your left and you do it for the guy on your right.”
She said her husband had promised to share his war stories with her, but died before that happened. She said only after he died last November did she find the many medals and honors he had received. Mancuso urged others to encourage veterans to share their stories with their families before it’s too late.
Other donors to the monument included: Consolidated Coal; Chesapeake Energy; American Legion Posts 89 and 46; Elks Lodge 28; Eagle Aeries 28 and 1891; Moose Lodge 5759; P.A.P.; Iola Club; Cave Club; and VFW 4442.