Veterans Day this year will be special in Brooke County, where the dedication of a small group of volunteers is coming to fruition. On Nov. 11, they will dedicate a memorial to the county's veterans of military service, on the grounds of Brooke Hills Park at Wellsburg.
Dedication ceremonies at the new Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park will begin at 2 p.m. that day, according to Howard Armstrong, president of the foundation established a few years ago to pursue plans for the park.
The centerpiece of the park will be a 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture. But more important will be a granite wall listing the names of 186 local people killed while serving their country in the military and 27 others who were prisoners of war. A separate monument to Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith Jr., whose death in Iraq inspired the park, also will be dedicated Nov. 11.
Those who decided the park ought to be established overcame a variety of obstacles in deciding what type of memorial to erect and how to pay for it. Their persistence and the support that came from the local community is a testament to how strongly Brooke countians feel about those who have served them, and sometimes made the ultimate sacrifice.