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Saluting men and women of honor

Ashby Ponds residents dedicate veterans monument

Created date

October 25th, 2011

On September 29, 2011, hundreds of devoted American war veterans stood in honor as Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Ashburn, Va., unveiled its veterans monument to the community. The monument, funded entirely by the community s veterans, provides permanent recognition of the brave men and women who have served their country.

Shortly after I moved to Ashby Ponds, I discovered there were more than 150 veterans living with me at this community of about 500 people, says Frank Thomas. That s really an astounding percentage of our population. When you take into account spouses who have also made remarkable sacrifices, it is more than half of the Ashby Ponds population.

Having fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, these veterans put their lives on the line for their country. Frank, a U.S. Marine veteran of Korea, and Ashby Ponds neighbor Al Beyer, a retired Army Colonel and Vietnam War veteran, decided to do something special for this large group of veterans.

Striking symbol

Our goal was to thank them in a permanent way, Al says. We agreed on a monument that would be placed in front of the Cardinal Clubhouse. The location would ensure that everyone coming to Ashby Ponds would see it.

We did not want to ask the whole population to contribute; rather, we only solicited donations from our veterans, Frank says. The response was unbelievable. We got more than double what we needed. That was very gratifying to see.

The extra money raised will fund wreaths to be placed by the monument on holidays as well as lecturers on special holidays and occasions.

We really appreciate the efforts of the residents of our community to create this monument at Ashby Ponds so that we can all residents, employees, students, and visitors have a special place to recognize and honor the sacrifices of so many for our country, says Ashby Ponds Executive Director David Gallagher.

Special day

Frank and Al take the year-long task of recognizing their fellow veterans seriously. This month, on November 11, they will host a special ceremony honoring Veterans Day.

Since 2009, we ve made a real effort to make a big deal on Veterans Day, Frank says. We invite a minister to lead a memorial service in honor of our fellow veterans who have passed away.

Months before the event, Frank works diligently to collect photographs of each Ashby Ponds veteran. During the week of Veterans Day he displays the photos