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Through The Lens: Wetzel Wall of Honor

November 6, 2019
By Chuck Clegg , Wetzel Chronicle

Each year on November 11th, our country honors and remembers those who have served or are serving in one of the five branches of service. Even before our country's birth, men and women have realized that in order to become a new country, its citizens must have freedoms. They also realized if a country was to be free in the eyes of the world, those freedoms would have to be defended.

On the morning of April 19, 1775, defenders of this young country stood up against a well-trained British military force. Those patriots may not have yet called themselves an army, nor did they realize they were making history. That stand for a new country took place near a bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. It was their first step towards freedom. They could not have known their actions would ignite a spark helping to create the greatest country the world would ever know.

"Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world." Ralph Waldo Emerson's words said to the world, these people have chosen their right to be free no matter the cost. That call for freedom has rang out many times in the last 244 years.

Article Photos

Wetzel County Wall of Honor

Each new challenge since 1775 has been met by our country's military. In the beginning that defense was the responsibility of the Continental Army, Marines and Navy. Then 147 years later, changing technology gave birth to the first Air Services branch of the military in 1917. Thirty years after its birth that Air Services organization became todays U.S. Air Force. The next branch of our military came about as war loomed large in Europe in 1915. The United States Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Lifesaving Service were joined together becoming the U.S. Coast Guard.

During our country's history, millions of its citizens have heard the call to arms to protect our lands and our ideals for freedom during both war and peace. Sometimes that threat has come from a single event. While other times it has taken on a global front. But no matter the challenge faced by our country's defenders, they have gone forward to face the threat to protect our way of life. Like those patriots who fired those first shots at Concord Bridge, todays military members know they may have to pay the ultimate price for their service. They also understand taking no action could cost the thing we treasure the most, FREEDOM.

Veterans Day was first established for the citizens of our country to pay respect to those who served and died while fighting for our freedoms. At first, it was called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. The date of those observances were established based on the armistice ending World War 1. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month the war to end all wars was over. Fifty years later in 1968, a bill was passed officially establishing November 11th as a Federal Holiday known as Veterans Day.

Throughout our country's history, returning soldiers have proudly taken on the title of American Veterans. But too often with the return to civilian life the names of veterans have often been lost or forgotten with the passage of time. Fortunately, there are organizations that have strived to preserve for all history, the names of our country's honored Veterans. Here in Wetzel County, the American Legion, Marne Post 28 has endeavored for the last century to preserve and honor veterans from our community. On North Main St. stands the Memorial Building. Inside on the front wall hundreds of names are inscribed remembering soldiers from both World War l and ll. Desiring to preserve the names of veterans, the members of the American Legion have constructed a Wall of Honor near their building downtown. Veteran's names listed on the Wall go back to the Civil War and continue forward through today. The members of the American Legion have welcomed all who have served our county to be listed on this Wall of Honor. Today, names are still being added by returning Veterans and by families of past Veterans. The list now includes nearly five thousand names of those who have made it known, they wish to be listed with others who have served. Wetzel County citizens owe a debt of thanks to Post 28 for its efforts to preserve a list of those who have served. Those listed on the Wall were residences of Wetzel County at the time of their service and have submitted a DD 214.

I once read that a person passes into history twice, once when they stop breathing and the second when someone speaks their name for the last time.

Please do not let those names on this list be forgotten by time, history or each of us. They each gave of themselves, so each of us can still enjoy the greatest treasure of all, Freedom. God Bless America and all it freedoms as I see it Through the Lens.



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