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PE Set To Remember The Fallen

PRINCE EDWARD – Their names may not be familiar, their stories pressed as an obituary in a coveted Bible or book. On Sunday, September 11, they – people who died in public service in Prince Edward County – will be remembered in a special program at the County's courthouse.

Frank Hatchett Gilliam</b>

Game Warden

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

End of Watch: April 28, 1929

Robert Wright Smith

Trooper

Virginia State Police

End of Watch: November 21, 1951

Joel Franklin Coleman Jr.

Firefighter

Prospect Volunteer Fire Department

Last Alarm: January 17, 1977

David Paul Bruce

Firefighter

Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department

Last Alarm: May 9, 1991

County Board Vice-Chairman Howard Simpson, who has chaired the committee putting together the program, explained that they plan to use the circuit courtroom for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Once that is completed, they would move to the hallway with members of the families of those who have fallen where the plaques would be unveiled (the program will be shown on a big screen inside the courtroom). A folded County flag is to be presented to each of the four families who have been invited to attend.

Asked why he thought it was important to go through this process to have the memorial, Simpson said they thought it was appropriate to recognize the people and the families on September 11.

All of them, he offers, were protecting the people of the county when they lost their lives.

The date coincides with other memorials around the country marking the tenth anniversary of the events of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when some 3,000 people were killed. Many of the fallen include those emergency services workers.

Prince Edward has several monuments, the oldest of which recognizes fallen soldiers in World War II, on the courthouse lawn. Other markers include a sign recognizing the perpetual light in the courthouse bell tower as a light of reconciliation in 2008, and the most recent monument honoring soldiers who have died in conflicts after World War II was added in May of 2010.

The concept for an additional monument began in a discussion between Prospect Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell and Simpson.

Board Chairman William “Buckie” Fore, with the concurrence of the board, appointed Simpson and Campbell to the committee along with Assistant County Administrator Sarah Puckett.