Wellsburg bench dedicated to vets had a years-long journey

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

Wellsburg, W.Va. (WTRF) – Two sentences—and the seals of the U.S. service branches.

A simple dedication through which decades of conflict, loss and gratitude are now expressed on a bench in Wellsburg.

A ceremony today unveiled it as a new addition to the veteran’s museum already part of the library.

It was the project of John Simonetti, who says this day has been close to a decade in the making.

And it’s been about six or seven years I was thinking about this, but I didn’t know where to put it.

John Simonetti, dedicated bench

The tribute to vets both in Brooke County and around the world was actually ordered over a year ago from India.

The bench was loaded onto the Ever Given, a container ship that had the misfortune of getting caught up in a dispute between Egypt and Japan.

The boat was held in the Suez Canal for three months until it finally arrived on our shores late in the summer.

They went to the Netherlands, then they went to Malaya, and then finally where it ended up was in the United States.

John Simonetti, dedicated bench

But the memories the bench symbolizes aren’t only of our men in uniform.

John’s wife Sue was the mayor of Wellsburg for 12 years.

She died in March but still had a big hand in the memorial taking shape—right down to the direction it faces.

And my wife, when she was living, that’s why I put it on the south end of the building down here, so when she would come by and rode to work she could see it, and she agreed to that before she passed away…it’s a good day, it’s her birthday and I’m glad that we had this.

John Simonetti, Dedicated bench

John says he wasn’t expecting the dozens of people and the cameras that showed up for the dedication.

But with the long and uncertain journey of not just the bench, but the soldiers it commemorates—it’s hard not to show respect.

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