Last Memorial Day, standing near his Fairmount home, Jim Kernaghan solemnly watched as a band of graying men stood in Veterans Park to commemorate their patriotic service. Before they concluded their ceremony, held for years, amid the park's discarded trash and broken bottles, the men taped small red-white-and-blue flags to the faceless tower, which sits on the south side of Girard Avenue and 31st Street. Somewhere, the ornate plaque that listed the names of the neighborhood boys lost in World War I disappeared. The monument saluting the women who supported their efforts lies on the ground, toppled over. Kernaghan thought, “We really have to do something here.”
Kernaghan, 40, a former member of the PA National Guard, deployed to a peace-keeping mission in Bosnia after 9/11, organized a team of volunteers to raise money for a more respectable tribute. With the help of the Fairmount CDC, the goal is to collect $15,000 to restore the forgotten memorial. The rebuilding will include: a plaque honoring local veterans of all wars; a flagpole with the American Flag and the POW Flag; a new landscape design and plantings; and benches for visitors and veterans - hopefully in time for Memorial Day.
Kernaghan says he is close to his goal, and explains his motivation as: "It’s just what’s right.”