Bethel Park Veterans Memorial
The Bethel Park Veterans Memorial Committee was established in 1997 for the purpose of creating a Veterans Memorial at the Bethel Park Municipal Building. Serving on the inaugural Committee were Chairman Jack T. Allen, Mark J. O'Brien, Leo Brooks Bebout, WIlliam A. Knaus, Leonard L. Anthony, Jr., Todd E. Carter, Bud Manion, Erich P. Rudolph, Anthony S. Trozzi, Reno Virgili, and Ronald G. Wolfe. Once formed, the Committee immediately began fundraising for the project and soon after commissioned Landscape Architect Joseph A. Hajnas & Associates and Architect Robert T. Stevens to design the Memorial site.
By the fall of 1999 the Veterans Memorial was complete, fully paid for through the fundraising efforts of the Veterans Memorial Committee. On October 30, 1999 the Veterans Memorial was dedicated. The three large granite stones bear the names of approximately 3,000 honorably discharged veterans with residential ties to the Municipality of Bethel Park.
Within four years of the dedication the three granite walls were full; there was no room for additional names. The Veterans Memorial Committee undertook an additional fundraising effort and as a result, in 2005 two additional granite walls were erected. Since that time approximately 100 additional names have been added to the Memorial.
Thanks to the continued hard work of the Veterans Memorial Committee, Bethel Park residents, past and present now have a beautiful and respectful place to honor the brave men and women who have served our country.
Every year, Memorial Day in Bethel Park begins 7:50 a.m. with a Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial. It is a moving ceremony that is highlighted by the reading of the newly engraved veteran’s names. In recent years the Veterans Memorial Committee has honored the families of Veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It is a painful reminder that our freedom is not free.
At 9:00 a.m. the Memorial Day Parade steps off from the Memorial and travels to the Bethel Presbyterian Church Cemetery. At the cemetery the American Legion Post 760 also holds a ceremony to honor and recognize our Veterans.
Hometown Heroes Program
In conjunction with the Bethel Park Veterans Memorial Committee, a Bethel Park Military Banner Program has been established. Through the program, Veterans with residential ties to Bethel Park may have their service in the military honored on a 24"x36" banner that will be exhibited along Route 88 in Bethel Park. All information on the program may be obtained by clicking on the following link: http://htmdesigns.com/american-legion/tribute.htm
Remembering Charles Michael Swaim
Pfc, USMC - 06/1966-02/1967
The Bethel Park Veterans Memorial Committee is dedicated to honoring all current and former residents who have served in our nation’s military. Thousands of names are engraved across several granite stones that stand tall at the entrance to the Bethel Park Municipal Building. Every effort is made to ensure no one is forgotten. Early in 2012 it came to the attention of Councilman James McLean that a Bethel Park resident and childhood neighbor of Mr. McLean’s was not listed on the Memorial. Charles Michael Swaim, a US Marine, gave the ultimate sacrifice on February 10, 1967 while serving in the Vietnam War. A quest began to locate the family of Charles Swaim so that proper recognition of the fallen hero could be made.
On Memorial Day, 2012 the Veterans Memorial Committee honored the memory of Charles Michael Swaim in the presence of his twin sister Margaret (Margi) Meyers, his sister, Julie, other family members and fellow Marine and best friend, Gerald Hines.
While that day came and went, that would not be the end of the recognition due to Charles Swaim. As a part of a class project, Virtual Vietnam, which memorializes many of the soldiers killed in action, Mia Cavazos of Westlake High school in Austin, Texas was assigned the project of creating a tribute for US Marine Charles Michael Swaim. Ms Cavazos reached out to the family of Mr. Swaim and ultimately to the Bethel Park Veterans Memorial Committee for information about the life of Charles Swaim. The following link is the finished product, it is a wonderful tribute honoring a fallen hero who once called Bethel Park home. http://www4.eanesisd.net/~vietnam/files/Swain,%20Charles%20Michael.m4v