As the nation pauses to honor veterans today, a local memorial park has added more permanent tributes to its display.
The Veterans Memorial Park on Kentucky 9 AA Highway near Meadowview Regional Medical Center has added two new displays to signify military service on the sea and in the air. It joins a display that signifies service on land, according to Lt. Col. Thomas Cordingly (Retired), senior Army instructor of JROTC at Mason County High School and president of the Memorial Foundation which oversees the park's operation and upkeep.
The new displays include a solid brass steering wheel from a World War II ship to signify service on water and a replica propeller from a World War I fighter plane to signify service by air. They join the Civil War cannon already at the park which represents service on land. Cordingly said, to his knowledge the local park is the only landlocked park to pay homage to the Navy.
The centerpiece display at the park is the battlefield cross, which pays tribute to all military service, Cordingly said, and the flags of each branch of service, the U.S. flag, and MIA flag.
The tributes were actually secured several months ago. The stands to place the displays at the park were built by vocational school students, he said. Concrete for the displays was poured earlier this week, allowing them to be in place in time for Veterans Day, Cordingly said.
Funding for the memorials was "a bit of a struggle," since the Memorial Foundation is currently without a sponsor, Cordingly said. Although the foundation was set up independent of any organization, it still requires community support, he said.
While the park was originally established and sponsored by the AMVETs organization under the leadership of the late Gene Hook, that group is no longer active, Cordingly said.
The Memorial Foundation includes nine board members who meet quarterly. It is responsible for landscaping such as mowing and mulching, and maintenance at the park, along with making sure flags representing the branches of service are replaced as needed. While the expense is not great there is still a need for funding, he said.
Cordingly is hoping a community group will step up to sponsor the nonprofit Memorial Foundation. Anyone who is interested can contact the foundation through the city.