Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Virginia III

Deep in the Shenandoah Valley is the Virginia town of Winchester. I had read that there was a memorial in the town but had not seen any pictures of the site. I went not knowing exactly what to expect. I was more than excited to find this great memorial.

This is actually a POW/MIA memorial and the level of local participation really stood out at this site. The 62 POW/MIA from Virginia are lovingly honored here. Those who have been repatriated and a Medal of Honor winner are designated with symbols on the black granite wall. The granite for the wall came from Georgia and the gray stone for the pavers was mined in South Dakota. The pavers, all around the plaza, were placed by local businesses and residents. One of the first to step up and participate was the local Harley-Davidson dealership.

When one enters the site, it is 31 steps, on the walkway of local stone, from the entrance around the circle of benches to directly in from of the wall. 31 in each direction for a total of 62, to honor the 62 whose memory will be remembered here, forever.

The site was proposed, designed, and for the most part, actually built by Rolling Thunder, Chapter 1, of Winchester. The group proposed the site in 2004 with a desire to have it completed by Veterans Day of 2005. Many thought this to be an impossible task. However, the dedication on the proposed date silenced all doubt that it could be done. Winchester's Mayor and more than 500 local citizens and Vets were on hand to honor those whose names are inscribed on this wall. Another interesting fact is that no government funds of any kind were used. The $350,000 needed was raised from private donations and on the day of the dedication there was not one penny owed to anyone! In addition, a perpetual care fund was established and later for a variety of reasons was abandoned. So, now, fund raisers have been held and pavers sold to keep this memorial in beautiful the condition it so rightly deserves.

One of the original planners of the site was killed in an accident last year and a memorial fund to support the upkeep of the site was established in his name. If you would like to contribute, or buy a paver, contact the address below;

The Jim Burkins memorial Fund
for the POW/MIA Memorial
C/O Winchester Parks Foundation
1001 E. Cork Street
Winchester, VA 22601

4 x 8 pavers are $100
24 x 24 are $1000.

This is a 501C3 organization, so these contributions are tax deductible.

The memorial is located in;
Jim Barnett Park
1001 E. Cork Street
Winchester, VA 22601

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