MASON, WV (WOWK) – The Mason County community gathered in Mason, West Virginia, Saturday morning to honor veterans of all branches and conflicts in a special ceremony.

The event marked the dedication of the first phase of construction for the new Mason County Veterans Memorial.

Organizers unveiled the first three pieces of the monuments that will list the names of those killed in action, held as prisoners of war, or are still missing across all conflicts. Once complete, a portion of the memorial will also list the names of all honorably discharged Mason County veterans.

Dedication for the next phase of the memorial is set for May 27, 2024, when the memorial committee will unveil a statue of Medal of Honor Recipient and Mason County native Staff Sergeant Jimmy Stewart. The statue will serve as the center piece of the memorial.

Stewart was killed in action while holding back enemy forces on May 18, 1966, during the Vietnam War. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1967 for giving his own life to protect his wounded squad members against an enemy platoon. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s website states, “As the full force of the platoon-sized attack struck his lone position, he fought like a man possessed.”

Officials with the memorial committee say the memorial will serve as an educational tool for generations of students, with the website providing stories of Stewart and many other local veterans so that their service and sacrifice is never forgotten.

To learn more about the memorial or to make a donation toward its construction, visit the Memorial’s website or follow the Mason County WV Veterans Memorial Facebook Page for updates on the progress.