New war memorial to be dedicated to Accomack veterans

PARKSLEY, VA. (DELMARVA NOW) - A memorial honoring Accomack County veterans will be dedicated on Memorial Day, after ground was broken for it less than a year ago.

The memorial in Parksley, Virginia, will honor all Accomack County veterans in each branch of service in all wars.

The dedication program begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 29, at the Parksley town square.

Retired U. S. Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, will give the keynote address.

Ground was broken in August 2016 for the memorial in the town square in Parksley. The town donated space for the memorial, which Williams Funeral Home helped design.

Shirley Johnson helped spearhead the the effort to raise funds for the memorial.

Johnson is the sister of a Marine from Parksley who died in 1968 during a fierce battle in Vietnam.

Cpl. Jerry C. Burkhead, the youngest of 12 children and a graduate of Parksley High School, was just 21 when he was killed in action in Vietnam.

Johnson contacted her congressman's office around a year ago about her desire to create a tribute for her little brother. Then, as the family began to research other families in Accomack County who had lost members in wars, the idea grew into creating a memorial to honor all veterans from the county.

"We're not just honoring him, but also all the other veterans of all the wars from Accomack County," Johnson said.

"Shirley called family and friends and then began countless bake sales, bingo games, brick sales and phone calls. These determined people raised $33,000-plus," said Deborah Christie of Rep. Scott Taylor's Eastern Shore office.

The ceremony in addition to Quigley's speech will include remarks by county and state elected officials; prayers by a minister; the dedication of a POW chair by American Legion Post 100; a recounting of Burkhead's story by C.L. Bundick; and Johnson's message of thanks to the volunteers and donors who helped make the memorial a reality.

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