Local veterans memorial could see late completion

By Ryan Cornell

STEPHENS CITY — Less than a month away, the original date of the Newtown Veterans Memorial dedication is looking unlikely.

The memorial, located in front of the Old School at the south end of Main Street, would consist of a cinderblock and brick wall with five panels and medallions, each for a different branch of the military. A pair of flagpoles and set of benches are also included in the design.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project was held in early June, and a dedication ceremony had originally been scheduled for Nov. 11, though the Newtown Veterans Memorial Committee may have to postpone it if it it’s not finished in time.

Stephens City Councilman Ron Bowers, who chairs the committee, said progress is about a quarter of the way there.

“We’ve got at least 25 percent [completed],” he said. “We’ve got the foundation in, we’ve started the concrete blocks and the excavation has begun on the pad out front.”

The town has the two flagpoles and five medallions in its supply, and the bricks are expected to arrive this week. A plaque of either metal or granite will contain an inscription dedicated to veterans, though the exact wording of that inscription has yet to be determined.

Part of the reason for the delay has been the myriad changes since the original design, Bowers said, including the switch from a semicircle brick pad to a square one, and relocation from the Newtown Commons park to the school site.

“A lot of veterans went through the old school and we felt it would be more appropriate to put it down there,” he said. “Someday that facility might become the hub of the town with the annexation that we’ve done.”

Ultimately, he said, the remaining progress boils down to two factors: availability of materials and the weather.

He said work on the project is being done by a team of about 10 volunteers.

Two fundraisers are helping support the project.

People can buy commemorative pavers engraved with the names of veterans or actively serving military personnel for $50. The pavers will be placed on the walkways of the memorial.

The committee will raffle off a Mort Kunstler painting, of Confederate soldiers clustered outside Winchester’s Palace Bar, on Nov. 11.

To purchase a commemorative paver or raffle ticket, contact Town Manager Mike Kehoe at the Stephens City Town Hall at 540-869-3087.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com