A granite monument to former Harford County public school students who lost their lives while serving in the military will soon stand outside the administration building in Bel Air.
County veterans have been working with school officials in planning the 12-foot-long, 4-foot-high memorial that will be made of black granite. The insignia of the five branches of the armed services will be chiseled into the stone, along with the inscription: "To all those Harford County public school students who have given their measure in the service of their country."
"We actually saved the spot when we built this building," Don Morrison, schools spokesman, said of the new administration headquarters on Hickory Avenue in Bel Air, which opened about a year ago. "We wanted something permanent here and something generic that would honor all former students who made the ultimate sacrifice."
In an effort to avoid overlooking anyone, no names will be listed on the monument. The memorial will honor fallen servicemen and women from wars dating to the Spanish-American War.
More recently, the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have claimed the lives of nine former Harford students, including Marine Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, a Fallston High graduate who was killed Wednesday in Iraq's Al Anbar province.
"The new school building is an appropriate place for this sizable memorial that represents all the Harford students who have given their lives through the years," said Edward T. Kreiner Sr., a Navy veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who chairs the Harford County Commission for Veterans Affairs. "It will have solemnity and stand in a place where many can see it daily," said the Bel Air resident, who is leading the fundraising effort for the monument. "And families of our veterans will know that people here really care," he said.
Hughes Memorials in Abingdon will create the memorial, which will cost $17,500. Kreiner said he expects the monument to be placed near the main entrance of the building on Hickory Avenue this spring. He has tentatively scheduled a dedication ceremony for May 24.
For now, he said, he is reaching out to veterans groups and the business community, certain he can raise the necessary funds.
"We have the third-largest contingency of veterans in the state, and they will help with this," Kreiner said. "We have never had any monument like this."
For information on making a donation to the monument effort: 410-803-7177.