The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 11, 2011

UPJ’s Heroes Memorial fitting tribute indeed

— Pitt-Johnstown will dedicate a memorial park today on the Richland Township campus that is moving and appropriate in both its physical attributes and its enduring message.

UPJ President Jem Spectar calls The Heroes Memorial “a teaching monument.”

He hopes it helps inspire UPJ students and other visitors to live lives worthy of the sacrifice the site reflects.

The Heroes Memorial is located between the J. Irving Whalley Memorial Chapel and Blackington Hall. It will be dedicated at 11 a.m.

The site’s centerpiece is a 3,500-pound steel I-beam from the World Trade Center.

Visitors will enter between twin panels that offer a message written by Spectar to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for their country, and also to recognize the sacrifice made by their families.

Surrounding the trade center beam are additional panels that have been engraved with the names of U.S. military personnel who have died in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, and the victims of the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, near Washington and at Shanksville.

Spectar said he hopes those who visit the place experience “a sober awakening to the obligations of citizenship, a clarion call to us all to be worthy of their sacrifice.”

That would include UPJ students, who will realize that many of those who have died in service are their own age.

We applaud Spectar and the university for developing this tribute, which is unlike any other on a college campus.

And we hope his vision is realized as The Heroes Memorial begins to change the lives of those who walk its stone paths and read the names of those honored there.

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