Ahead of the upcoming Purple Heart Week, Grove City will dedicate a memorial to local residents who have been wounded or killed in military action.
The dedication of the Purple Heart Memorial Walk and Commemorative Marker will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at Henceroth Park, 2075 Mallow Lane, behind Jackson Middle School.
The city will hold the ceremony in conjunction with the Buckeye Chapter 500 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
The memorial walk "is a pathway through a set of memorial trees we planted five years ago for all those who have been killed in service to our country from World War II all the way through the War on Terror," Mayor Ike Stage said.
Seventeen trees were planted in honor of local service personnel, with two trees recognizing the service of the Grove City Division of Police and Jackson Township Fire Department, said Don Walters, the city's business and community relations officer.
New plaques have been installed to replace the original markers at each tree, Stage said.
The commemorative marker will be unveiled at the ceremony.
"We established the memorial walk as a way for the community to honor and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice our soldiers made protecting our country," Stage said. "It also honors their families for the sacrifices they made."
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will present a Purple Heart flag to Stage in recognition of Grove City's designation as a Purple Heart City.
"The designation represents the importance we place in our community on patriotism and honoring those who have served," Stage said.
In addition to the memorial walk, the city has also established the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument on Broadway and has memorials to three local servicemen -- Lance Cpl. Eric J. Bernholtz, who was killed in 2005 in Iraq, and Master Sgt. Shawn T. Hannon and Spc. Joey Riley, who were killed in 2012 and 2014, respectively, in Afghanistan.
After the ceremony, the flag will be taken to City Hall where it will be flown the week of Monday, Aug. 7, for Purple Heart Week, Walters said.
"We'll bathe City Hall and the flag in a purple light during the week," Walters said. "It should be a stirring sight."
The city and the Military Order of the Purple Heart are offering a special invitation to all Purple Heart recipients and their families to attend the Aug. 6 dedication, Stage said. Other veterans and residents are also encouraged to attend.
The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to U.S. military personnel who suffer combat wounds or to their families if they are deceased.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart was established in 1932 with a mission of working for the protection and mutual interest of Purple Heart recipients.
Stage said work is continuing on a new plaza at the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
The plaza will include benches, landscaping and the placement of a star in the ground that will identify and honor the various military branches.
"Our plan is to have the project completed in time to hold a dedication ceremony on Veterans Day in November," Stage said.