by Trish Rudder
More than 200 people came to the Alderton-Dawson American Legion Post 60 in Berkeley Springs to honor veterans on Monday, November 11, Veterans Day.
Commander Dan Duckwall reminded the audience to never forget the POWs and MIAs.
He directed attention to a small table set off to the side of the stage. It is set for one, and the chair is empty. “They are NOT here,” he said.
As Duckwall spoke, participants brought items to the table such as a single red rose in the vase that “signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.”
“A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate, he said.
“The American Flag reminds us that many of them may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom,” Duckwall said.
Mary Lynne Herald of the Mountain Mamas Quilters presented the Quilts of Valor to this year’s recipients. She said more than 230,000 Quilts of Valor have been given to veterans over the years.
“It’s a thank you for all you have done,” she said.
George W. (Bill) Fox, Jr. was one of the 11 recipients who received a Quilt of Valor made
by the Mountain Mamas Quilters of Berkeley Springs.
Fox served two tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy. In 1969-70 he was stationed in Dong Ha, and in 1971-72, he was stationed near Saigon in Newport.
Fox said he worked under Chief Naval Officer Elmo Zumwald in Vietnam.
“It was highly classified,” he said.
“I joined the Navy so I would not have to go to Vietnam,” Fox said.
Other Quilts of Valor recipients were Roland E. Shambaugh, Kris Scheffmann, William R. Bishop, Alice Lantz, Kenneth Elwood Jones, Jr., Carmela A. Emerson, George Perry Carlisle, Jr., John T. Hiles, Edward J. Earls, and Thomas W. Yost.
American Legion Auxiliary President Nichole Shepherd and member Melanie Shambaugh presented a plaque to the parents of ninth grader Levi Hott who won the state award for his Americanism Essay for 2019 on ways to address veteran homelessness.
In part Hott wrote: “… veteran homelessness is a big problem. It is a difficult problem to
fix in total but finding the vets, starting a shelter, and campaigning in state and local legislatures could decrease the number of homeless veterans in the community.”
Levi’s father, Daniel, is an Air Force veteran.
Tim Cook, the Martinsburg V.A. director, was the guest speaker at the event.
“Think of where we would be without the love and dedication to our vets,” he said.
His sister served in the military, his father served in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and both grandfather and grandmother served in World War I.
“We honor and serve America’s veterans. Those that serve deserve our every thanks,” Cook said.
After the ceremony, Vietnam veteran Paul Leftridge presented Chuck Hampe, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, with an American flag encased in a shadow box as a gift for all the work he and his wife. Linda Hampe have done for the Vietnam veterans.