A monument to alumni who served in the armed forces is taking shape in front of Delaware Valley High School.
Making it happen is Liam Kephart, a sophomore from Holland Township, N.J. This will be his Eagle Scout project and an expression of his own gratitude. He is a member of Holland Township Boy Scout Troop 187.
Kephart explains his motivation: “In the Hutch (gymnasium) there are banners and posters honoring 100-win wrestlers and other great athletes. That’s important, but we have nothing that celebrates the veterans who went on to serve our country. I want to say, ‘We thank you and we support you.’”
The monument will consist of a bed of white gravel, some shrubs, light fixtures, five eagle-topped flagpoles (one for each branch of the military), a boulder with a plaque, and two steel-cutouts. One cutout will be a silhouette of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade, and the other will show a rifle, helmet and boots arranged as if to mark a grave. He explains that with those cutouts he honors those who serve or have served, those who were wounded, and those who died.
His Eagle adviser, John Tynan, is a metal worker, and Kephart is hoping for some instruction and the loan of a plasma cutting torch to make the cutouts.
Kephart estimates that if he had to buy everything he needed for the monument, it would cost more than $6,000. So he has been seeking donations of materials from businesses and donations of cash from teachers, relatives and friends.
The monument should be ready for its dedication ceremony on the Thursday before Memorial Day. He realizes that Memorial Day is dedicated to those who died for our country, but practical considerations point toward May 23, and he hopes people will accept his more-general intention.
Kephart urges all Del Val alumni with military service in their past or present to mark their calendars for May 23. If possible, he would like each of the five flags to be raised by graduates representing the corresponding branch of the armed forces.
He is hoping the military is in his own future, ideally with an appointment to West Point or Annapolis. He wants to serve his country by joining those who went before “and gave us what we have.”