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Monument planned to honor soldiers killed in line of duty

April 13, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle soon will honor those who paid the highest price of war with a memorial.

A group of local veterans is planning to erect a monument bearing the names of all of the soldiers from Greencastle who died in service to the United States.

Duane Schroyer, commander of American Legion Post 373, presented the idea of the memorial to the Greencastle Borough Council on April 2, and it was met with unanimous approval.

"I think it is a fine idea," Councilman Paul Schemel said.

The council unanimously approved Schroyer's recommendation to erect the memorial next to the existing veterans monument dedicated in 1989.

Unlike the existing marble monument to all American veterans that stands outside borough hall on Washington Street, Schroyer said the new memorial will honor local soldiers who fell in the line of duty.

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"We will go back as far as we can," Schroyer said. "To the Revolutionary War if possible."

While Schroyer said he is heading an eight-member committee of volunteers from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6319 to oversee the memorial project, the idea to commemorate departed veterans came from another.

"So many of our young people have left to serve in the armed forces to protect our freedom, but a number have not returned," said Ben Thomas of Greencastle. "A memorial has been a thought of mine for years."

Thomas, who is the manager of Antrim Township and a social member of both the Legion and VFW, planted the idea in Schroyer's head at the last Veterans Day celebration in November.

"I placed the thought and I am so pleased they are taking the mission to task," he said. "I would like to take a back seat and let the committee take the idea to fruition."

Schroyer said at present, the new memorial still is just an idea.

The next step is for the committee to meet and discuss how to turn the idea into a monument in the heart of town.

No official plans have been drawn for the memorial, but Schroyer said it will have room for additional names to be added in the future.

"We all hope that someday, no one will die in war, but until that day, we will honor those who do," he said.

Estimating that the memorial will cost about $40,000, Schroyer said the committee will do fundraising this year by soliciting donations from local residents and businesses.

For information about the memorial and the committee, contact the American Legion at 717-597-9954.

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