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Plans made for highway monument

October 19, 2000

Plans made for highway monument



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Local veterans groups and state officials are working to make Interstate 81 through Berkeley County a memorial highway in honor of veterans.

"We're taking enough time to do this right," said Norm Ceravalo of Berkeley County, a member of several veterans groups who helped spearhead the effort to get I-81 designated Maryland Veterans Memorial Highway, which has stone markers commemorating veterans.

This proposed monument - which already has received the blessing of the state Legislature and the Underwood administration - would be called the West Virginia Veteran's Memorial Freeway.

The idea would be to construct markers with a place for a flag, to be located at the northbound and southbound rest stops as motorists enter the state.

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"We're trying to make something that is suitable for the area, sturdy and handsome," said Del. Vicki Douglas, D-Berkeley, who shepherded a resolution through the state House to allow the naming. She appeared before The Berkeley County Commissioners Thursday asking them to set up an account to handle money for the memorial. Those pushing the monument have $6,000 from the governor's contingency fund. Commissioners agreed to do so.

Once the idea was born, Douglas said they began looking at federal regulations, "about a foot and a half thick," and determined they would have to build a breakaway sign for safety reasons.

"We didn't think it was appropriate to honor veterans with green breakaway signs," Ceravalo said. "They're ugly. We're going to get them in Virginia done our way. " Many veterans and others have offered to donate time and materials to make the project materialize. But some things will just cost money, Douglas told the commissioners. They're working to get a design, pick the right location at the rest stops and figure out the other details before they can provide a cost or possible time of completion.

"We'd like to have it on Memorial Day, but we're taking our time," to make sure it is done well, Douglas said.

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