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Bedford Co. World War II veterans honored with new monument

By Melanie Gillespie


BEDFORD COUNTY, Pa. --

There will be a special tribute for those who fought in World War II in Bedford County.

The World War II Monument Committee is collecting donations to make an honorary statue a reality.

Thumb by thumb and print by print, nearly a dozen veterans cast their fingerprint in mold Thursday night.

"We all joined the service, anyone... Just because it was there, and the war was on and so you just went. You didn't go to be proud or make a name, you just went, William Patterson said.

"It interrupted my college, but I felt it was my duty and, so, I enlisted, John Holbert said.

A piece of history was unveiled in Bedford County and those remaining World War II veterans left their mark behind in clay mold.

"We were going to get as many veterans as we could from Bedford County to come forward and put their thumb print on the clay, and that way when the bronze is cast in metal, the thumb print will be there forever, sculptor Wayne Hyde said.

"We just thought it was time to recognize an event of this significance in our history, Dennis Tice of the World War II Monument Committee said.

The $200,000 project captures a day in the life of a World War II soldier. Hyde said it shows them reflecting on a day's battle, lives lost, and letters from loved ones.

"That letter would represent to them everything they were fighting for. I mean, mail was very welcomed and shared and everything, Hyde said.

"The letters were very, very important. My mother wrote to me every day I was gone overseas, every day, Holbert explained.

It was a letter from home that meant the most to those who were fighting on the front lines and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Every day you think about it somewhat, Patterson said.

"That's the most important part: Honor those who didnt come back, Holbert said.

The committee said it will continue to collect donations for the project and veterans' fingerprints until Christmas Eve. It will then head to a foundry in Montana by the end of the year.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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