Dawson’s roll of honor
Some day when you have a little time, visit the honor roll on Main Street in Dawson.
Make sure you have more than a few minutes because the history and memories that engulf you will require some time.
If you are or have been from the area, the family names cast into the weathered plaques evoke a crazy quilt of random memories that will stay with you like a melody you can’t stop playing over and over in your head.
The monument for World War I contains about 150 names. A separate monument for World War II carries nearly 250. That’s 400 names and thousands of stories.
Touching the name of someone you know or have known in your lifetime returns you to the event or events that tied your life to theirs.
Like Harrison Cable.
When I was a youngster, I delivered the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph. On Saturday evenings a special edition was printed called the bulldog edition. Cable was always at Bixler’s drugstore to pick up the first copy of the paper. And I made sure he always got it. He probably never knew my name. But I remember Harrison Cable. Or let’s say I did after I saw his name on the honor roll.
My two brothers’ names occupy spaces on the plaque. Kenneth, now deceased, was an infantry ambulance driver. He used to joke that the big red cross on his ambulance made it an easy target. Louis, now 88, was a navigator in the Air Force. They were, are and always will be my heroes.
Four hundred names, thousands of stories.
A star denotes the names of those young, brave and frightened soldiers that left their home never to return. Fortunately, there are only a few stars on the Dawson Honor Roll.
Conspicuous by its absence is a monument honoring the brave servicemen and women of the Korean War and the Vietnam War. And we have young men and women serving currently in conflicts that though not as clearly defined, are just as deadly and frightening.
Some Dawson residents have come together under the auspices of the Tri-Town Area Historical Society to honor all veterans by upgrading the current honor rolls, and possibly erecting a monument to list veterans of conflicts not currently covered. This promises to be an ambitious, expensive and rewarding initiative. A committee has been formed to investigate other town’s projects, gather information, look into possible funding, collect donations and keep the project moving forward. The historical society will act as custodian for donations earmarked for the honor roll fund.
Perhaps some of the thousands of memories offered up by the Dawson honor rolls belong to you. If so, stop by and renew those memories.
If you would like to help with this project, please contact any member of the Tri-Town Historical Society or receive more information by calling 724-529-7298.
The writer is a committee member for the Dawson Honor Roll Project.