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Shining Upon High Ground

Memorial Day Pic (800x549)

Summer officially begins with Memorial Day and a remembrance of all who have gone before to make all that we enjoy possible. “High Ground”, the stately Vinton-Roanoke County Veterans Monument located on the grounds of the Vinton War Memorial honors past Vinton and Roanoke County residents who were killed in action along with military men and women who have or are currently serving.

The handcrafted monument was the first ever piece of public art in Vinton, and is available for viewing 365 days a year anytime of the day or evening. The monument was designed and constructed by the team of John Kirtley, Mary Babcock and Larry Betchel.

The name of the monument, “High Ground,” came from a Vietnam War veteran who said in battle, “a soldier always looks for the high ground.” Likewise, visitors crossing the compass plaza to the octagonal pavilion find their attention drawn ever upwards: up the broad steps, up the rough rocks and terraced fountain, to the granite panels inscribed with the names of fallen soldiers and up again to the bronze American flag.

Finally, the visitor’s attention is drawn to the inscription encircling the architectural-cast concrete lintels overhead: HERE PAUSE AWHILE – TO BLESS THEIR SLEEP – WHO FELL IN WAR – TO SAVE OUR PEACE – THEN GO RENEWED – AND BUILD THE LIVES – THEY LOST FOR YOU – IN GOD WE TRUST.

The High Ground Monument is located at 814 E. Washington Avenue in Vinton For additional information visit or contact the Town of Vinton – Special Programs Office at (540)983-0613.

Photograph by Terry Aldhizer.

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