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All veterans matter
Young vets deserve to be honored on county memorial

Barton County Administrative Assistant Diane Watson is calling all veterans with ties to Barton County, with the emphasis on all.

It is obvious to honor grandpa who stormed Omaha Beach on D-day, fought at Inchon in Korea and survived the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The gallant sacrifices of these heroes goes without question.

Now, we are approaching the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks which propelled the United States into the so-called War on Terror that has mired America in the Middle East. The deadly and cowardly attack on the Kabul Airport that killed 18 American marines is a bloody and horrific exclamation point on this conflict that has cost so much blood and treasure.

Now, as the contributions to the list of veterans on the Barton County memorial slow to a trickle, it is time to remember all of those who have served and sacrificed – that includes Iraq and Afghanistan,

“It’s time for the younger ones to start coming forward and be honored for what they’ve done,” Watson said. “It all matters. They are just as important.”

Watson said the first 200 lines on side one of stone four were purchased by the Hoisington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7428 when it closed. Side two is for general use.

As of this week, there are still 13 lines available on the first side (for general use, but preferably for vets from the Hoisington area) and 31 on the second, he said. At $45 per line, 520 (about 370 veterans), 260 per side, have to be sold before each of the stones can be ordered.

The second stone was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2016 and the first stone on Veterans Day the year before. But, the project dates back to 2012 when the idea of a memorial was first raised.

The first two stones flank a center obelisk. In addition to the stones, there are flags representing the branches of service, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines.

The third stone is staggered behind stone one. It was installed October 2019 and dedicated on Veterans Day.

Number four will be behind number two. 

However, due to the time involved in proofing the lists of names, ordering the stone, having it engraved and preparing the site, it is too late for this to be done Veterans Day this year. Local sculptor Chet Cale facilitates the purchase of the stones, which are engraved by Kansas Granite in Ellis. County personnel prepare the location. 

The memorial honors veterans with Barton County ties who have served in all conflicts and in all branches of the military who have a connection with Barton County. Qualifications to be included are proof that the veteran was at least at one time a Barton County residency and an honorable discharge from the military. The veteran can be living or deceased, and active-duty service members are also eligible.

Those wanting to purchase a spot or make a donation can bring their payments to the Barton County administration office in room 107 of the courthouse at 1400 Main in Great Bend. For more information call 620-793-1800.

The County Commission may opt to proceed if side two can be filled, regardless of side one. 

It would be a shame if anyone gets left off of this marvelous tribute to vets. This is likely the last stone and the last opportunity.

Don’t miss it.

Dale Hogg