DEDICATED TO THOSE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED IN OUR NATION'S MILITARY; AND
TO THE WOMEN WHO CHERISHED, SUPPORTED, AND PRAYED FOR THE SAFE RETURN OF THEIR LOVED ONES FROM 'HARM'S WAY'
COALDALE PENNSYLVANIA'S VETERANS AND WOMEN'S MEMORIAL
William M. Gaddes, Designer
1.0 HISTORY, BACKGROUND, RATIONALE FOR DESIGN
Coaldale Pennsylvania was a small struggling hard coal mining town on
December 7, 1941. Jobs were scarce and the future looked bleak for young people. A good number of young men were serving in the military in the Pacific area on that fateful day. In fact, three would be killed in action during the first several days of the war, and two more would die after surviving the "Bataan Death March" on Japanese "hell ships" sunk by US submarines. It is felt that Coaldale is number one in the Nation regarding "per-capital" who served in the military during WW II (22.5 percent). This figure is twice the national average. Tragically, 54 men were killed in action approximately four times the national average.
It is this primary reason, in addition to meritorious service during other wars faced by our nation, that the Coaldale Veterans memorial was constructed. Appropriately, due to the great sacrifices of our Gold Star Mothers and the prayers and support of our Coaldale women, that the Memorial to ALL Women was constructed. This brochure describes the rationale behind the memorials; their design and their construction and dedication. We in Coaldale believe that these unique memorials are among the most beautiful in our Nation.
Section One describes the Veterans memorial and Section Two describes the very unique and beautiful Memorial to ALL Women.
Shown is the 15 by 25 foot American Flag raised in April of 2013 by the Panther Valley JROTC. It is located near the Veterans and Women’s Memorial.
2.0 THE VETERANS MEMORIAL GARDEN
The Veterans Memorial consists of the following: (1) Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War One Memorial Column, (2) Granit column listing those killed in action in WW II, (3) Special granite column honoring US Army Captain Norman Nesterak, KIA in Vietnam, (4) A WW II Memorial Granite wall of 13 granite columns listing the names of 1,355 men and women who served during
WW II, (4) A "Battlefield Cross" or "Soldier's Cross", (5) A Korean War Granite column , (6) A Vietnam War granite column, (7) A granite column honoring those who served in "Desert Storm", "Enduring Freedom", and current conflicts in Afghanistan, and (7) A special memorial for the submarine service.
Figure One shows the Civil War/Spanish American War/World war One Memorial column dedicated in 1933. The WW II killed in action column and the Captain Nesterak columns are shown as well. These memorials were in place when the new Veterans Memorial was designed.
Figure Two shows the World War Two Memorial Wall. It consists of 14 granite
columns upon which the names of 1,355 men and women are engraved, fully 22.5 percent of the population of Coaldale on November 7, 1941.
Figure Two (right)The WW II Memorial Wall containing 1.355 names; 54 KIA.
Figure Three shows the Korean War, Vietnam War, "Desert Storm/Enduring Freedom" and current conflict granite columns. Each have relevant graphic images in black granite.
Figure Three Korean War, Vietnam War, "Desert Storm/Enduring Freedom" columns
Figure Four shows the "Battlefield Cross" sculpted by Andrew Chernak. On the battlefield, or soon after, the soldier or marine's helmet, rifle, combat boots, and "dog tags" are arranged as shown. Shown is an M-14 rifle as used in Vietnam.
Figure Four. The "Battlefield Cross" by Andrew Chernak
A special memorial for those who served in the US Navy submarine service in WW II. This group suffered the highest casualty rate of any branch of the service, with 52 submarines and crews lost. (Figure Five to be provided).
Figure Six shows an 8 by 12 mural of the raising of the American Flag on Mount Surabachi during a terrible conflict which cost almost 7,000 American lives. Coaldale has a special relationship with Iwo Jima. Marine Sergeant George Lutchkus won his second Navy Cross there. Colonel (then Captain) of Marines Andy Hedash commanded the company that raised the first and the famous second American Flag as shown in the mural. It was painted by Coaldale's own Susan Frendak. The capture of Iwo Jima saved the lives of 20,000 crewmen of battle damaged B-29's that made emergency landings there. This included Coaldale's Sergeant Walter Bortnick. A special plaque honors Sergeant Lutchkus, Colonel Hedash, Sergeant Bortnick, and Marine Colonel Robert Stoffey, Coaldale's most highly decorated heroe. Another plaque on the mural remembers the 143 US Marines who were KIA in Beruit, Lebanon in October of 1983.
Figure Six Iwo Jima Mural Honors 7,000 who died for our freedoms. P4
Coaldale had a WW II Victory ship named in honor of the town. The "SS Coaldale Victory" made several trips to France in support of the American forces fighting their way to Germany. The ship is illustrated and its career described on a black granite panel adjacent to the Iwo Jima mural, as shown in Figure Seven.
Figure Seven "SS Coaldale Victory" Granite Panel
The Veterans Memorial is fenced, lighted, and furnished with six benches for use by visitors. Four flagpoles permit appropriate flags and banners to be flown. The area is secure, monitored by camera surveillance, and checked periodically by the Coaldale police. The garden is handicapped accessible. Consequently, it has become a place for rest, contemplation, and remembrance of loved ones. Those who served and those who gave their tomorrows for our freedom finally have an appropriate and beautiful place of honor.
Refer to Section Two for a description of the Women"s Memorial Garden; located adjacent to and designed in relationship with the Veterans Memorial.
Veterans and Women’s Memorial