The word stuck in Jack Perigo's craw, and not because it wasn't pretty much the truth. Still, the longtime commander of American Legion Paschall Post 164 fumed.

Following the most recent Memorial Day ceremony at the Grove City Cemetery, which concluded with attendees gathered around an oft-repaired wooden box, Ward 4 Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw told Perigo that she was less than impressed with the less-than-impressive centerpiece.

"Well, we'll paint it," Perigo recalled responding, but even he knew another coat of paint on that old box was going to be, to use a currently popular phrase, like putting lipstick on a pig.

The post chaplain, Jack C. Reber, had to agree that the ceremonial centerpiece was more than past its prime.

"I wasn't going to say anything because one of members made it to begin with," Reber said.

So the two Legion Post officials began a quest to determine what to do, which in turn led to a campaign to try to pay for their eventual solution.

They decided on a monument, something along the lines of a tombstone, as the new focal point for all cemetery services dedicated to veterans who paid the ultimate price for their country.

Post officials have a 99-year verbal lease on a spot in the cemetery, according to Perigo.

He and Reber sought to get competing bids from Hannigan Memorial Co. on Franklin Street in Grove City and the 72-year-old Modlich Monument Co. on North Hague Avenue in Columbus, only to find that the two firms had more or less merged.

The base price for a piece of polished black granite, three feet by four feet, was $6,035, according to Perigo.

Sandblasting in the emblems of the four armed services, the American Legion logo and the words, "Dedicated to the memory of the brave men and women who served our country," would add another $6,435.

Old soldiers are supposed to never say die, but World War II U.S. Navy veteran Perigo thought this idea was dead in the water.

"We didn't think we could raise that," Perigo said.

They did.

In fact, Reber said recently, sufficient donations had been received that a bit might be left over to help pay for the flags the post purchases to fly on the chain link fence on the south side of the Stringtown Road Interstate 75 overpass.

The chaplain wasn't certain when the black granite marker would be installed, but said the post had received assurances it would be well before Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Perigo, for one, can hardly wait.

"It's going to be a heck of a lot better," he said.

It's also going to last a heck of a lot longer than the wooden box.

"Forever," Perigo said proudly.

The following made contributions to the monument to be placed by American Legion Paschall Post 164 officials in Grove City Cemetery in time for Veterans Day:

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT)


Plank's on Broadway

Schoedinger Funeral Home

Spence-Miller Funeral Home

Newcomer Funeral Home

Diamond Lawn and Landscaping

Alumni Softball Tournament president

Jackson Township

Heartland Bank

Steve Sellers, post treasurer

Rich Dawson

Home Country Moods

Ron and Charlotte Skunkwiler

Cheryl L. Grossman

Donald Coleman

Gerald Stewart

Grove City Evening Lions Club

Noon Lions Club

Jackson Township Firefighters