Group proposes county Vets of War on Terror monument
A group seeking to raise money for a proposed Westmoreland County Veterans of the War on Terror Monument took a step toward gaining public awareness Saturday by installing a sign about the project at the site next to Twin Lakes Park.
The monument, expected to cost about $350,000, is planned at the county’s Peach Plaza Skate & Action Park in Hempfield. The site is to be called Patriot’s Plaza, according to Samuel Wagner of Hempfield, one of the organizers of the initiative and a retired military officer.
Wagner said there is not a state or county monument recognizing the veterans of the “war on terror,” which has been ongoing in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries since Sept. 11, 2001.
Wagner, who served as an Army reservist in Iraq in 2005-06, said the monument will be “more than brick walls that don’t tell a story. It’s going to be a memorial worthy of today’s generation of warriors.”
He said a central monument, to be designed this summer with the help of students at Westmoreland County Community College, will be surrounded by a walkway featuring stations that interpret events of the war on terror and their impact on service members.
One of the stations will recognize the families of 12 Westmoreland County residents who were casualties of the conflict, Wagner said.
“We need a memorial for everybody who sacrificed,” state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, said at Saturday’s event. “Thank you for acknowledging and making sure we all remember,” she told the organizers.
Westmoreland County’s Veteran Affairs office has estimated about 5,000 county residents have served in the war on terror.
Sept. 11, 2021, is the planned date for dedicating the memorial.
“We’re trying to get the whole county involved,” Wagner said.
One of the first fundraisers will be a golf outings and picnic, scheduled for May 31 at Glengarry Golf Links, off Route 982, south of Latrobe.