Group to dedicate veteran’s memorial

MIFFLINTOWN An American flag waved gently in the background as Donald E. Husler Jr., chairman of the Juniata County Re-enactors Association, described the site that would soon hold a memorial wall in honor of local veterans.

“It is our obligation as citizens and our duty to honor our veterans, whether on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day,” he said.

The project has been a year in the making. Husler said the monument was first suggested in May 2012 during the Juniata County Courthouse Civil War Encampment. A friend of the group knew of some discarded memorial stones at the former Auker Monument building in Mifflintown.

It was there the group uncovered a large, black granite stone. Husler said the stone was donated by Michael Shimp, owner of the building, and the design process began.

“Our group brainstormed until we came up with something that really sounded appropriate,” Husler explained.

A rough sketch of the monument reads, “Dedicated to all men and women from Juniata County who have served or are presently serving in the armed forces in the defense of our nation.” Below it, “Home of the brave Land of the free God bless America.”

Husler said the wall is 27 inches high and 49 inches long. According to the proposed design, it will include engraved emblems to recognize the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force. The total cost of the project was about $850, he said.

Husler said his hope is that the public will see the memorial and be reminded of veterans so that their sacrifice is not forgotton.

“They do the dirty work so we don’t have to see it,” he said.

The memorial wall will be located at the entrance of Westminster Presbyterian Church Cemetery on the Memorial Day Parade Grounds. A dedication ceremony is set to be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, at the site, rain or shine.

Local clergy will give an invocation and benediction. Maddie Zendt will sing the national anthem. Opening remarks will be made by Samuel Leister. A wreath will be laid by Pam Amig. Husler also will deliver a short reading from the Civil War era.

A 21-gun salute will take place after the ceremony. Husler said it will include rifles from Civil War re-enactors, World War II, Korean and Vietnam war eras and the modern era War on Terror.

Husler said all veterans, families and the community are encouraged to attend. Guests may bring lawn chairs and umbrellas if needed.

“It’s gonna be a day to remember,” Husler said. “It gives us a place now to celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day We’re just pleased to be a part of making a spot available to celebrate.”