Effort under way to move Export veteran monument to ‘more prominent place’
When Gary Wuslich returned to western Pennsylvania for his uncle Brando Sachet’s funeral in December 2018, he began thinking about the veterans’ memorial stationed outside the former American Legion on Kennedy Avenue in Export.
“Between my father, my aunts and uncles, I think we have four or five names on that monument,” said Wuslich, who is retired and now lives just outside South Bend, Ind. “I can remember the monument as a child — it was a big deal. With the 75th anniversary of World War II’s end coming, I felt that the monument should be in a more prominent place.”
Partnering with the Export Historical Society, Wuslich and others are hoping to relocate the monument to a spot closer to the borough’s downtown area, where passers-by on the newly opened Westmoreland Heritage Trail can see it.
“With the building of the trail and the talk about building a replica of the former train station, that monument being downtown would bring a lot of attention and properly recognize our veterans,” Wuslich said.
The relocation is going to be a monumental task, considering it is made of solid stone.
Borough councilwoman and historical society member Melanie Litz said she would like to make the World War II anniversary the theme for the 2020 Export Ethnic Food & Music Festival. An effort is also under way to purchase banners recognizing Export’s military veterans.
And there are plenty.
“There are hundreds of names on that monument,” Wuslich said. “For a town that’s never had more than a couple thousand people, Export certainly did its share of contributing to the war effort.”
Litz said the historical society wants to begin fundraising as soon as possible to raise money to relocate the monument.
“Now that we have the idea and it’s out there, we’re on to the funding part of it,” said society member John Lukacs, whose grandfather built the monument in 1943.
Wuslich said he’s excited at the idea of honoring the borough’s military men and women in a highly visible location.
“The patriotism which that generation exemplified is something we need today and for future generations,” he said.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .