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Take time for war-monuments tour



Published: Sun, November 11, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)


LINK | TAKE A TOUR OF SOLDIER MONUMENTS IN THE VALLEY

We’re proud today to offer a special salute to our veterans that is timed nicely with Mother Nature’s warm blessings.

Please enjoy the weather today by making a tour — small or large — to the many, many sites in the Valley that pay homage and respect to our war veterans. It’s a great day for a car or motorcycle ride to these places.

This was started by the mighty folks at Polish Youngstown civic club, led by Lisa Lotze and Aundrea Heschmeyer, who launched an effort two years or so back to relocate a war monument dedicated to the city’s Polish residents. It had been in one part of the city that suffered a downturn. The club found a new place down the road, appropriately in Poland.

That process taught them something:

There’s not a stable, central archive or database for all the Valley’s military tributes.

They asked The Vindicator to be that hosting organization, and today we take a large step toward that effort.

Here are the ways you can participate:

Below is a list of places we sampled from around the region to highlight the diversity. A complete list of more than 50 locations is attached to this column on Vindy.com. Go to the site, find my column halfway down the page on the left, and in this story’s sidebar, you will find a link to the complete list that is only sampled below.

Search Facebook for a special page we set up called Vindicator War Monuments Tour. On that page, you can find site-by-site photos and descriptions of all the locations, along with some mapping help.

Become a friend of that War Monuments page, and share with the community your visits to these sites as a way to promote them and share in the respects we must pay.

When you see the full list and see that there is a site missing, please use the contact info at the bottom of this to contact us and help to continue to build this tribute list.

AUSTINTOWN

Mahoning Valley Sept. 11 Memorial Gazebo, 1051 Raccoon Road.

The memorial’s gazebo is about 27 feet in diameter, and the site has an engraved paver-brick sidewalk with several park benches. The Austintown Beautification Committee, which is responsible for the memorial, has acquired a 7x7-inch piece of the World Trade Center that has been encased in a granite stone in the shape of the World Trade Center towers. The site also has dirt from the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., as well as a pound of rocks from the Pentagon bombing in Washington, D.C.

CANFIELD

War Vet Museum and Memorial, 23 E. Main St.

The Canfield War Vet Museum was chartered in 1988 by American Legion Post 177 and its Ladies Auxiliary to collect and preserve items and history from all American wars and conflicts. The building that houses the museum was built in 1809 by Comfort S. Mygatt, a Revolutionary War veteran, and later became the home of Col. James Madison Nash, a Civil War officer.

POLAND

Polish War Veterans’ Memorial, South Main Street and Route 224.

The statue displayed at Peterson Park shows two Polish Revolutionary War heroes, Casimir Pułaski and Tadeusz Kociuszko, sculpted by Poland, Ohio, native Tom Antonishak in 1970. The piece originally was placed at a site on South Avenue in Youngstown, home of a chapter of the Polish Army War Veterans of America, but was moved to the Poland site in 2011 as the former site deteriorated.

SALEM

Hope Cemetery War Memorials, 1015 N. Lincoln Ave.

A group of 10 memorials at the entrance of Hope Cemetery collectively celebrates soldiers of all American wars and conflicts. Farthest back at the site are a soldier at rest statue honoring the soldiers of Salem, with Civil War cannons at its left and right. One cannon features a plaque that reads, “The first Memorial Day services took place in Hope Cemetery May 30, 1868.”

STRUTHERS

The Peacekeepers Memorial, Poland Avenue at Hamilton Boulevard and Fifth Street.

This memorial honors a Navy sailor and 13 Marines from Ohio who were killed in the Oct. 23, 1983, bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The site overlooking Lake Hamilton was dedicated Oct. 22, 1989. Area Marines killed in the attack and honored on the monument are Lance Cpl. Edward A. Johnston of Struthers, Lance Cpl. Stanley Sliwinski of Niles and Sgt. James E. McDonough of New Castle, Pa.

YOUNGSTOWN

Oscar Boggess Historical Marker, Edwards Street and Boggess Street.

A historical marker indicates the former homestead of Youngstown resident and Civil War veteran Oscar D. Boggess. Born a slave in Virginia in 1832, he was freed 11 years later, and in 1864, he enlisted in the 43rd United States Colored Troops. After becoming a decorated veteran, he moved to Youngstown and offered growth for the city as a founding member of the Tod Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Oak Hill Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Church — its first African American congregation—in 1870. Boggess died in 1907 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery with full military honors. The marker was the first dedicated to an African- American in Mahoning County and was unveiled Sept. 15, 2006.

PARTICIPATE

Please contact The Vindicator at 330-747-1471, ext. 1254, with any information on veterans monuments in your area that were not included on our list.

In particular, any information on the following sites would be appreciated: Southside Park, Youngstown; Mahoning County Veterans Memorial at the Canfield Fairgrounds; Veterans Memorial Bridge, at state Route 18 and Bailey Road, Lordstown; Lordstown Veterans Memorial; and the Soldier at Parade Rest monument, at the Wallace-Meyers Mausoleum in Hope Cemetery, Salem.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Twitter him, too, at @toddfranko.


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