With the dedication of a new veterans memorial on Sunday, Barton County had an additional ceremony honoring those who have answered the call to serve the United States as members of the armed forces.
The Barton County Veterans Memorial is located in Golden Belt Memorial Park, north of Great Bend. A gray granite marker contains the emblems of each branch of the military: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. A flag was raised for each branch during the ceremony.
Eventually, the names of Barton County veterans will be inscribed on two stone tablets that will flank the center obelisk. The first name will be that of Barton County Commissioner and Vietnam veteran Don Cates, who died April 22 in a plane wreck. A seat containing a wreath was placed in a chair along other county and memorial committee officials.
Kenny Schremmer, chairman of the Barton County Commission, delivered the address, noting the memorial is the result of years of planning. The cemetery is maintained by the county.
“The memorial is paid for by donations, not tax dollars,” Schremmer noted. “This comes from you the public.”
Mick Lang, chairman of the memorial parks advisory committee, read the inscription on the monument: “A nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. This is but a small tribute to all the veterans whose names are forever etched on these tablets. We are eternally grateful for their service to this nation. All gave some, some gave all.”
Marc Webster played “Taps” on trumpet. An honor guard from Adren H. McKey Post 128, Sterling, provided a gun salute, and Paige Lofland from the memorial committee led the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
There was also a color guard, and members of the American Legion Riders Post 180 carried flags.