Brooke & Hancock County Veterans Memorial
Main Street at Freedom Dr
Weirton, Hancock County, West Virginia
"1775 - 1783
In memory of the Revolutionary War veterans buried in the Upper Ohio Valley"
"In memory of
who made the supreme sacrifice
and the following members of
WEIRTON HEIGHTS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
who served their country in World War II"
The Brooke Hancock County Veterans Memorial group is comprised of an industrious group of individual veterans determined to have an appropriate monument area to honor the service of their comrades. Visitors are encouraged to make their visit 'personal' and relate the service of those honored here to our everyday lives. Well, that's one of the goals of Ride Around America, so I fell right into task of making this personal.
Among the various paving bricks Coast Guardsman Pat Finnegan in remembered. I see that Pat joined shortly after I finished my seven year tour on 'MY' Coast Guard and that he found a 20 year home. Congratulations, Pat - now another generation of youngsters has taken the helm. Near that brick are two others; that of Coast Guardsman Stanley Howrot and Navy sailor C. Rushkowski - who seems to have been at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. This makes me recall two men from my first unit, Engineman 1st John Manthey and my first Executive Officer, CWO-2 Martin Kimmell.
Manthey was a brand new Fireman aboard Cutter Taney that morning ... and I'll never forget his story of Taney making steam and being one of the only warships in the harbor to get underway and clearing the sea buoy that day. Kimmell was in the Navy then and spent much of his WW II time underway from Pearl Harbor - he made several wartime patrols as a submariner and after the war he enlisted in the Coast Guard. He felt it offered a better chance for advancement in the electronics field.
Nearby Rushkowski's brick is that of Coast Guardsman John T. Hartman, whom I know to have served a full tour and was a shipmate of Kimmell's as they were at LORAN stations in Korea and Alaska. It's impossible to visit any veterans memorial in a strange town and not make it personal. We are ALL entwined in a complex matrix of dates, places, and experiences. Each of us may be strangers to one another, but that common thread binds us tightly to this place and every one like it in the United States.
I'm here with an old shipmate, Joe Cumblidge - that's him standing by a ships' anchor. We stop a moment to sit at a bench near some I-beams at the lower end of the memorial area. At first they offer little significance to us - until we read the plaque aside them. These beams were part of the World Trade Center. In 1969 Joe and I first met each other as we reported aboard USCG Training Center Governors Island. For the next six months, as we trained to become members of the finest group of military radioman in the world, we watched the Trade Center buildings being erected. For a couple of country boys it was an impressive sight to see them reach into the sky. It took less time for them to fall than it does for the Coast Guard ferry to sail from Governors Island to lower Manhattan. No, it's not hard at all for any visitor to make this visit personal.