Memorial plaza to be dedicated
Whitehall Township will continue its rich tradition on Memorial Day, with the three township veterans organizations paying tribute to those who fought in past wars. A new ceremony will be held Monday with the dedication of a veterans memorial on the grounds of the municipal building on MacArthur Road. The site honors all veterans — those who served in war and during peace, at home and abroad, in the past and at present.
The 1 p.m. ceremony is the culmination of a committee comprised of representatives from American Legion posts in Hokendauqua and Fullerton, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Egypt, township officials and citizens. In less than two years’ time, the group was able to organize this project, which includes a large polished granite memorial and circular plaza.
Wording on the granite memorial, the centerpiece, simply says, in large lettering, “IN MEMORY AND HONOR OF ALL WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY.” A gold star encased in a black circle tops the monument.
With the legions and VFW posts front and center with their honor guard and rifle squad, the program will begin with the raising of the flag, followed by the national anthem by the Whitehall High School Chorale, a bagpipe performance and recognition of families with veterans.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. will provide introductory remarks. Retired USNC Lt. Gen. Richard Kramlich will offer the principal address, followed by Coast Guard retiree CWO Richard Gladish.
Whitehall High School student Cara Bonshak will be recognized for her award-winning Voice of Democracy essay.
Also recognized will be Anna Rodriguez, a Gold Star mother.
A major feature of the veterans memorial plaza are the bricks, which form the base for the site. Many bricks have the names and military branches in which township residents served. One family has seven bricks, each denoting a family member’s service. Included with the array of engraved bricks, one says, “You are the reason we always vote.” Another says, “God Bless America.”
Angled at the four corners at the memorial plaza are granite benches, with one word on each front side — “Honor,” “Sacrifice,” “Duty” and “Courage.” The benches, along with a gazebo dedicated to Gold Star families, offer an area for reflection, its solace quite a refuge from the nearby heavily traveled MacArthur Road.
The impressive flagpole with a yard arm, on which the pennants of the branches of the U.S. military are flown, gives the plaza the meaning for remembering veterans, as do the five lighted pylons, bearing the insignia of each branch — Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines.
Flowers and shrubbery frame the grounds.
Funds raised by the committee have topped $60,000 from the sale of bricks and other contributions from citizens and businesses. The group will continue to sell the memorial bricks.