The Bugler

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Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial

For over thirteen years community leaders and veterans of southwestern Pennsylvania worked to build a World War II memorial. Last December this memorial became a reality. It began with a dream and in the process a national design competition was held. Construction was delayed due to funding issues, a leading proponent died in an accident and the poor economic times delayed the process. The old saying holds true, it was worth the wait.

The memorial was designed by artist Larry Kirkland and architect Todd Johnson of the Design Workshop. According to the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council, "Kirkland has many works in the public realm, including installations at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington D.C., the World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan. He has a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in environmental design and an M.F.A. from the University of Kansas. Kirkland was born in California and moved with his military family around the United States."

The memorial is located in the North Shore Riverfront Park in Pittsburgh. The people of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania played a huge role in the war. The county Department of Veterans Services estimates that about 4,000 members of the armed forces from Western Pennsylvania died in battle during World War II. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the memorial is "Constructed of stainless steel spires and glass, the monument tells that tale in a series of photos from battle zones in Europe and the Pacific as well as scenes from Pittsburgh mills, which produced a third of all the steel used for ships, tanks and guns. The images are inclusive, showing women in military service and the mills, black soldiers marching and children gathering scrap material. Twenty-four granite panels also feature essays, diary entries and quotations by figures ranging from Dwight Eisenhower to historian David McCullough, a Pittsburgh native."

One veteran at the dedication was 91-year-old Code Gomberg, an Army veteran and a member of the memorial committee. He said, "This memorial is like a big history book." With veterans of the war dwindling, he said, "We must tell our stories, and we have to tell the younger generations what happened." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The memorial also tells a local story. Northern Connections describes the experience this way, "As visitors enter the heart of the memorial they will observe a large pole-mounted flag. The interior is devoted to local history, while the exterior describes the story of the war around the world. The memorial also spotlights the part our region played in the combat and it focuses on the sacrifices of local veterans.

Two of our area natives received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration, for their actions during World War II. Both awards carried an additional level of distinction: Technical Sergeant Charles E. "Commando" Kelly of Pittsburgh's North Side was the first enlisted man to be cited for service on the European Continent, while First Sergeant Leonard Funk, from Braddock Hills, was the war's most decorated U.S. paratrooper." See NorthernConnectMag.com to learn more.

Salute our Veterans!

November 11th honors all Americans who have served in the U.S. military, during both wartime and peacetime. Be sure to fly the US flag all day in honor of our service men and women! Glendale Parade Store will be closed on Tuesday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day. Any orders placed online will be given top priority when we return on Wednesday, November 12, and will be processed in the order in which they were received.

Canada: We Mourn Your Loss

One of the most honored places in the United States is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. This is true in the countries of most of our Allies. In Canada it is the National War Monument in Ottawa. It is with a sad heart and an inability to comprehend the senseless murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo that we extend our sympathy to all Canadians. See this link for photos of Canadians honoring their fallen.

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