Eastern Kentucky Veteran’s Memorial Park project underway

By Darla Jackson
Contributing Writer

The Eastern Kentucky Veteran’s Memorial Park and Walking Trail, located at Hwy. 119 North in Cumberland, will soon boast four massive granite walls placed at the site to honor special veterans of all branches of the military. Standing four feet tall and eight feet wide, the grey monuments will hold smaller black granite personal memorials. Friends and families can purchase plaques to honor and memorialize their special veterans. Funding for the walls was secured by donations received at the last Veteran’s Day celebration in 2020. This will, no doubt, make the Eastern Kentucky Veteran’s Memorial the largest in the area.

The park and walking trail were created by a group of veterans, along with Main Street Program Coordinator Bobbie Gothard. Harlan County Fiscal Court donated the park and trail property, which is near the Letcher County line. The creation of the park began by receiving a grant to help with designing and creating a budget for the project. Soon, other grants and donations allowed construction to begin as well as landscaping, flags honoring all the branches of the military, and with the help of Harlan Fiscal Court, an access road was built.

The veterans memorial wall is for all veterans of eastern Kentucky and for all branches of the military. According to Gothard, the plaques can be memorials for veterans who have passed, and also dedications and tributes to honor living veterans. Cleon Cornett, veteran and member of the planning committee, is selecting black granite stones that are laser cut, aesthetically pleasing, and able to withstand time and weather.

The personalized plaques can be purchased for $175. Anyone who would like to honor a veteran on the memorial wall can call Gothard at the Main Street office in Cumberland, Kentucky, at 606-524-4964 or 606-733-0029 for details.