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Families of fallen soldiers gather in Martinsburg

November 12, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Families of fallen soldiers gathered Saturday afternoon for a Veterans Day tribute at Pleasant View Memory Gardens.

Widows wept as they accepted memory stones from David Reaves, manager of Pleasant View. The stones were inscribed with each veteran's name.

Several family members accompanied Florine Bowers of Martinsburg to the ceremony.

Bowers lost her husband, Norman, this year. Norman Bowers was a Vietnam veteran who spent seven years in the Army

Pleasant View also dedicated a new Veterans Garden Saturday afternoon.

Homing pigeons were released, and the American flag was raised as the new section was unveiled.

One pigeon returned and flew over a member of the honor guard as he played taps.

More homing pigeons were released after retired Brig. Gen. John Wright delivered the benediction.

Wright also blessed the new site with anointing oil.

All veterans are eligible for a spot in the new Veterans Garden, which covers about three acres, Wright said.

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"Anyone who has ever worn a uniform is a hero," he said.

Memory stones were given to the families of veterans who died between November 2005 and November 2006, Reaves said. The Pleasant View staff hopes the ceremony becomes an annual event, he said.

"They wanted to honor vets," said Anthony Walker of Martinsburg, who attended the event out of respect for his father, Robert Stubbs, who passed away in July.

Stubbs served in the Army during World War II, his son said.

Barbara Corbin represented the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the event.

"Our veterans represent the best of America," she said.

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