PA Monuments - Blair County
Located in the center of Altoona's downtown business district is a small space between buildings dedicated to all veterans of Blair county. It also has a named dedication to S/Sgt Robert E. Laws, Blair County's only living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. There are a variety of memorials here, covering almost every conflict involving the residents of Blair County.
The mall is in the spot where the Logan Hotel once stood. This was the famous railway hotel where the Conference of the Northern War Governors was held in 1862 during the Civil War. This conference united forces behind President Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclaimation. A Pennsylvania historical marker stands just behind the veterans memorial to commemorate the event.
A lone silhouette of a soldier stands on the terraced high ground that borders the far side of the grounds.
The mall also looks to the future with a time capsule buried in front of the veterans memorial. It is scheduled to be opened November 11, 2040.
- Altoona Veterans Memorial
The Veterans Memorial is a series of brick panels with metal placques mounted on them. There is a commemoration for every war Blair County residents have served in, including the Global War on Terror. Some of the panels contain the names of those who served in each war with special notation for those who were killed in action.
Although the panel containing the World War I placque looks to be the oldest, other plaques have been added to it to include National Guard and Reserve service during World War II and Korea. Later updates added additional panels and include the names of those who served in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf Conflict.
- Militia & National Guard marker
A small marker surrounded by flags commemoriates the service of all Blair County reisdents who served in militia and National Guard units from 1775 to the present. The area has a long traditon of service in these units.
The Medal of Honor Memorial sits at the base of a flagpole in the center of the mall. It is dedicated to Blair County's eight Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients. The names of each reipient, including the time period and branch of service are inscribed on it. Some of the recipients date back to the Civil War. Congress first established the Medal of Honor in 1861.
A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located on the Grounds of the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona. This replica was once one of the travelling "Wall that Heals" displays that frequently travel around the country. This particular display was being prepared for retirement after touring the country for many years. The VA purchased this memorial for about $50,000 from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the company that runs the mobile displays.
The memorial was erected on the front lawn in a very similar setting to the actual Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. including a descending walkway and a visitor's center. The wall is approximately half the size of the original, only coming to a height of six feet at the highest point. The site also contains a directory so those who wish to locate a particular name can find its location on the monument.
- Hollidaysburg Civil War Monument
The Civil War Monument in Hollidaysburg sits on the front lawn of the Blair County Courthouse. This ornately decorated obelisk features sculptures of a Civil War-era soldier holding the flag in one hand and a sword in the other placed at the top and two Civil War-era artillerymen on each side. A bronze relief sculpture of a battle scene can be seen on the front of the monument, just below the dedication inscription and inclusive dates of the war.
A ship's cannon and a stack of cannonballs are placed to the monument's right.
- Logan Township Veterans Memorial
The Logan Township Veterans Memorial can be found along PA Route 36, near the northern edge of town. The monument is an obelisk with the names of the fallen from past wars inscribed on it. At the time this picture was taken, a soldier from the region had recently been killed in action in Iraq. A banner can be seen near the base of the monument announcing news of his death.