HOLLIDAYSBURG - Lt. Gen. Ed Soyster's one-time West Point classmates chose the following line to place next to his photo in a school annual: "Have you ever heard of Hollidaysburg?" It goes on to say they hadn't, but the town's native was sure to let them know.
The retired military officer and decorated Vietnam veteran who served as senior U.S. military intelligence officer during his career is proud of his hometown and the recognition it gives U.S. service members.
"We want to make sure they're remembered," said Soyster, 75, of the borough's efforts to recognize those who might not make a career out of the military as he did. "They're the backbone."
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Hollidaysburg Mayor Joe Dodson has dedicated the past year to create Patriot Park, which will honor veterans.
Hollidaysburg Mayor Joe Dodson dedicated the past year to creating Patriot Park, a place of honor and remembrance in town for veterans.
A dedication ceremony will be held at the park on Holliday Hills Drive at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The 28th Infantry Division Band of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard will perform. Soyster; U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District; and state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, will be among the speakers.
If you go
What: Patriot Park
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Holliday Hills Drive near Penn-Mont Academy
A reception will follow across the street from the park at Graystone Court Villa.
Dodson raised $27,000 in donations to complete the park, which is dedicated to the memory of Sgt. Daniel Lightner, a Hollidaysburg native who was killed in Iraq at age 28 in 2005.
The land where the park is built was once called the "circle of weeds" and is a round, one-third acre patch of land in the center of a street loop. The view from the passive park - meant for reading, reflection and conversation - is of picturesque hills.
A gazebo stands at the center of the park, which includes a flagpole and trees that were were planted to represent each war the United States has fought in and one for each branch of the military.
Dodson said throughout his campaigning for donations no one turned him down, and he was grateful for the support. Park maintenance for the next 10 years was also given through donations.
He said plaques will be placed at the bottom of each tree and fresh grass and flowers will be added.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Clegg is at 949-7030.