World War II monument presented in Coaldale

May 28, 2007|By Ashley Kosciolek Special to the Morning Call -- Freelance

Dozens of people lined Third Street in Coaldale on Sunday for a Memorial Day service that officially presented the borough's new World War II memorial.

The event was organized by the Coaldale United Veterans Organization, American Legion Post 170 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6982.

The memorial, which displays the names of 1,336 Coaldale World War II veterans, stands next to Borough Hall. It joins three other memorials, honoring veterans of the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and the Vietnam War, as well as area World War II GIs killed in action.

The World War II memorial, which was officially dedicated in October 2006, is the result of the efforts of Steve Tentylo and the World War II Memorial Committee.

"This was 60 years overdue," said Tentylo, a World War II veteran who said he knew personally most of the men whose names appear on the memorial.

He noted that more than 20 percent of the male population of Coaldale served in that war.

Tentylo also said that five additional stones will be added to the current 15 to honor veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Although the committee received two small grants from the state, most of the $67,000 project was funded by members of the community who donated money or purchased bricks, on which their names or names of loved ones were carved.

The bricks were then used to build a walkway to the memorial. About 480 bricks were sold at $50 apiece.

"It was a grass-roots effort, and we're very proud of that" said William Gaddes, the memorial's designer.

Gaddes, who served in the Air Force during the Korean War, was also a speaker at Sunday's event.

"We must recognize that our freedom and democracy are based on past generations," Gaddes said. "We must be faithful to our past and the significance of past events."

Gaddes later said that plans for a women's memorial are in the works.

The memorial, which Gaddes hopes will be completed by next Memorial Day, will be a wishing well. Seven feet in diameter, the structure will feature black granite panels around the sides and a tile roof to honor all women who served or lost loved ones in wars.