Designated as a US highway in 1926, US Route 52 stretches from the North Dakota / Saskatchewan border to the American Southeast, ending at the Atlantic Ocean in Charleston, South Carolina; more than 2,000 miles away.
It would be impossible to define the culture of US-52, as the route encompasses eleven separate states and passes through hundreds of towns and communities. To put it simply, the road highlights our nation’s greatest accomplishments and vistas, as well as reveals many of our greatest struggles. Motorists along US-52 can expect to see the real story of America, in all her diverse glory.
Passing through Virginia’s panhandle in the southwestern portion of the state, US Route 52 enters Virginia at the base of Fancy Gap Mountain in Carroll County and continues north into Wythe County where it runs parallel to the New River for a while before hiking up Big Walker Mountain into Bland County where it soon crosses into the coalfields of the Mountain State.
Already known for highlighting the greatest America has to offer, this weekend, the three Virginia counties will officially designate the route as Veterans Memorial Highway.
The move comes after much lobbying from veterans and citizens who wished to see the route turned into a living memorial highlighting the brave Americans who have served in our nation’s armed forces.
Among the scores of individuals who wished to see this route designated is Carroll County, Virginia’s Clyde Easter, a World War II veteran who was twice wounded in the conflict.
In recent years, Easter has worked diligently to preserve the memory of all veterans within the mountains of southwest Virginia. One of his greatest goals has been seeing Virginia’s portion of US Route 52 designated as Veterans Memorial Highway. Now, his dream is a reality. A dedication celebration is being held at each of the participating counties from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 20, 2018.
In a letter of support for the designation, Easter wrote, “I believe that by [naming the route Veterans Memorial Highway] it would perpetuate and preserve the memory of all veterans of all wars, those that survive, and those that gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.”
The veteran went on to state, “We know that sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance… As America’s twelve million war veterans fast disappear from society’s landscape there are fewer standard bearers left to carry the torch of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a vibrant movement to which that torch can be passed.”
Each county will host its own dedication ceremony on Saturday, October 20, 2018.
The ceremonies will begin in Bland County at the Bland County Veterans’ Memorial in Rocky Gap, at 9 a.m. There will be a ceremony recognizing veterans featuring an American Legion Gun Salute and bagpipes.
Following the ceremony, participants will form a procession and travel via U.S. 52 south to Austinville (approx. 52 miles) in Wythe County. In Wythe County, the dedication event will start at 11 a.m. and officials will honor veterans in a ceremony at the historic Shot Tower, 283 Pauley Flatwoods Rd, Austinville. From there, the procession will leave for Hillsville, Va., via U.S. 52 south at 11:30 a.m. (approx. 15 miles).
In Carroll County, the procession should arrive in Hillsville shortly after 12 p.m. The dedication event in Carroll County will start at 1 p.m. at the stage behind Hillsville Town Hall (410 N Main St, Hillsville, Va. 24343). The event will include, recognition of local veterans, remarks by an honored guest and music. Lunch will be served.
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