Carolyn (Peet) Green, Letter to the Editor, Sunday, Oct. 1
HEAD: 'Bill' Somers remembered for his service to country
West Milford should be proud. On Saturday, Aug. 12, this small town in Harrison County honored one of their own, Gene William "Bill" Somers, who lost his life at the age of 20 in the service of our country. He died on March 19, 1969, in Vietnam.
Bill served in the Marines. He is the only person from West Milford to lose his life in combat. West Milford dedicated a Veterans War Memorial Park to honor Bill and all veterans who have served their country.
The ceremony was impressive as Mayor Roy D. Smith and Joseph R. Fidler-Retired, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, spoke to those who attended. West Virginia House of Delegates member Barbara "Bobbie" Warner and Harrison County Commissioner Beth
Taylor were present, as well as many people from the community.
My aunt, Alice Marie (Peet) Somers, shared memories of her son, Bill. He was my cousin, who I knew and played with. Many of those present remembered Bill,
but others only knew of what they were told.
That Saturday was also our Peet-Hamilton family reunion and Bill's relatives from all across the country were at the dedication. Cousins from California, Mississippi, New Jersey,
Ohio and Maryland were there. Bill's two brothers -- Pete, who lives in West Milford, and Todd, from North Carolina -- and families were there. Todd and his wife, Jackie, both currently serve our country in the Marines and were in full dress uniform. Todd escorted his mother to place the wreath on the memorial. A number of other relatives were also there.
When Bill's mother was asked what would Bill say if he knew how he was being honored, she replied, "He would be flabbergasted, because he didn't serve to be honored. He just served to serve. ..."
I want to thank the South Harrison High School Band, VFW Post 573, and those who helped build the memorial. Also, the West Milford Citizens Action Committee, which hosted a reception following the ceremony at the Community Center that helped make that day special to our family.
When you have the opportunity, visit the Veterans War Memorial Park. Anyone who has served in the Armed Forces may purchase a bronze plaque for placement on the wall. You do not have to be a resident of the Town of West Milford.
Those visiting from out of state were impressed what this small town of West