Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
02:09 pm
15 November 2018

Leesburg to dedicate new monument for World War II veterans

Local veterans who helped U.S. and Allied Forces win the war will help the city of Leesburg dedicate a new World War II monument.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10am Saturday, Nov. 4, at Veterans Memorial Park near Meadow Street and Orange Avenue in Leesburg, a news release states. The public, especially World War II veterans and their families, is invited.

Among the honored guests are WWII veterans Priscilla “Pat” (Morrison) Getchell, of Umatilla, and Irving Locker, of The Villages.

Pat trained Navy pilots by using the military’s earliest flight instrument trainers after answering the nation’s call to serve in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Irving landed on D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He participated in five major battles in Europe, and will display his collection of WWII memorabilia along with telling first-hand accounts of the war.

The monument will be displayed in sections, with the largest measuring 15 feet long by 6 feet high, and it will feature images and information that trace America’s history in World War II, from Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender onboard the battleship USS Missouri. Additionally, four smaller memorials will honor WWII women veterans and factory workers who rendered support stateside, the release states.

Don Van Beck, a WWII and Korean War veteran, designed the memorial monument.

“When 25 school kids visited the park to see the Vietnam War Huey helicopter, it dawned on me that there was no World War II monument,” he says in the release. “In the school system now, there is not much mention of the wars and the people who died to keep our country going.”

For more information about the various monuments at Veterans Memorial Park, contact Lake Veterans at 352.314.2100 or