After almost six months of preparation, the Ohio Valley Cost of Freedom event will begin Thursday in Moundsville.
The ominous, castle-like walls of the former West Virginia State Penitentiary will be accompanied by another well-known wall this weekend. This wall is not high but low, and was built not to intimidate but to honor.
Tonight, a large Patriot Guard motorcycle escort will guide the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Replica to Jefferson Avenue. Between 750 to 1,000 motorcycles are expected to make up the escort, which should arrive in Moundsville somewhere between 3:45-4:30 p.m.
Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough
Jozabeth’s women’s boutique on Seventh Street in Mounds-ville pays tribute with window and interior displays to help the city mark the Ohio Valley Cost of Freedom event.
The replica - which will be on display starting Thursday morning through 3 p.m. Sunday - is made for those who have never gotten the opportunity to visit the actual Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is 380 feet long and lists the names of 59,253 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.
"This is going to be a fabulous weekend," said Phil Remke, a Moundsville businessman, city councilman and co-chairman of the event.
While driving down Jefferson Avenue's business district and throughout downtown Moundsville, many of the windows of local businesses have been decorated with United States military memorabilia and patriotic decorations. Among them are Remke's own Helping Hands Medical Supplies and Jozabeth's Dress Shop. Remke also commended local veterans, many of whom are willing to share their stories with those willing to listen.
WALL AT THE OLD PEN
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Replica will be on display starting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday through
3 p.m. Sunday at the former West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville.
This event "is for all veterans, living and deceased," he said.
The Marshall County Courthouse will be closing at 3:30 p.m. today so that staff may attend the event.
Ceremonies will begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday with Reveille. St. Francis Church will be ringing its bells in remembrance of veterans living and dead. The Rev. Thomas Steele will be giving the invocation, and the St. Francis Xavier Grade School will say the pledge of allegiance. The VFW Post #437 will give a 21 Gun Salute directly after. Then, Erin Huffman will be singing the National Anthem. Hershel W. Williams, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, will be the keynote speaker. Ezra and Audra Hamilton will hold a tribute ceremony at 10:50 a.m., followed by a laying of a POW/MIA wreath by Jim Rogers and Woody Yeater. At 11:15 a.m. poet Dee Dee Barbour will read "God Bless the Heroes," and the Rev. Teresa Markins will bless the tribute at 11:30 a.m. A gathering banquet will be held at St. Francis Xavier Hall for World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans catered by Perkins Restaurant.