War dead honored in Martinsburg

November 11, 1996


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Eva Adams, Edna Brumbaugh and Gertrude Kaime knew better than anyone in the small crowd huddled in Monday's late morning chill the meaning of the three words "Lest We Forget" inscribed across the front of the bronze doughboy monument in Martinsburg.

All three wear a gold star for sons killed in battle.

The three women laid a wreath at the monument in their sons' memory as part of a brief Veterans Day ceremony. It was held in front of the bronze statue put up on West King Street in 1925 in memory of the more than 1,000 men and women from Berkeley County who served in World War I.

Among the names were those of 12 nurses, 88 black soldiers-their names listed separately in the back of the monument-and 41 servicemen killed in the war.


In all, 58,000 West Virginians were in uniform during World War I, including 759 who were killed, according to Richard Pell, director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg. Fewer than 100 veterans from that war are still alive in West Virginia, he said

Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Clyde D. Dean, the guest speaker, called the monument a "hallowed spot."

Dean, a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran, said no group appreciates the sacrifices made by men and women in war more than veterans themselves. "They know the sacrifices, the blood, sweat and tears," he said.

Veterans, he said, know of the long, lonely separation from families, the loss of blood, limbs and health, and the misery of being a prisoner of war. More than 1 million Americans have died and thousands are unaccounted for in the nation's wars, he said.

The gold star mothers knew of what Dean spoke.

Adams, of Martinsburg, said her son, First Lt. James C. Adams, died in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day in 1968 at the age of 21. He was buried on Dec. 5, 1968, at Rosemont Cemetery in Martinsburg.

Brumbaugh's son, John Brumbaugh Jr., a Marine private first class, died in Vietnam on Feb. 23, 1969. Brumbaugh, of Pikeside, said she learned of her son's death while she was working at Sexton Can Co., in Martinsburg.

Her daughter, Edna Marie Miller, said her father went to the plant to tell her. Just before that he had gone to school to tell her brothers and sisters. Brumbaugh, who was 19 when he was killed, is also buried at Rosemont Cemetery.

Kaime's loss was more recent. Her son, Capt. James G. Kaime, was wounded on March 11, 1991, when his Humvee vehicle ran over an Iraqi land mine during the Persian Gulf War. He died two days later.

Kaime was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Monday's ceremony began at 11 a.m. in honor of the 78th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.

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