GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commissioners Tuesday night addressed questions they had received or heard regarding recent letters discussing the potential annexation of the Spring Valley area and, in a separate matter, also discussed the potential for hanging veteran portrait banners about town.
“In 2015, we approached your council and we asked permission to hang these wonderful pictures of our fellow brothers and sisters serving in the (US military),” said VFW 4464 Commander Bill Mangus. “We know there were some conflicts that people didn’t think they wanted them in the park because of (political reasons). We as veterans are not politicians. We don’t feel it’s political. I’ve been approached by four different cities in the last three or four months that have contacted me and they have these kinds of posters on their streets..It’s a tradition to honor our fellow veterans whether they are active or inactive.”
Mangus said one of the issues he remembered discussing with the commissioners was their desire that the area veteran organizations were in agreement on the banners. The banners present portraits of Gallia veterans, their time of service and what branches with which they served.
“We are (united with other veteran organizations),” said Mangus. “We would ask the council to reconsider. We gave a proposal in 2016 that we wanted to do a special commemorative for our veterans Memorial Day week, the Fourth of July and Veterans Day. I know there was some conflict with that that people didn’t think they wanted them in the park.”
Mangus said he believed there was some concern among some citizens with banners being around City Park that would make it “not pretty anymore.”
Mangus said recently he and his colleagues had heard about two Gallia Civil War veterans, one who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and another who had been a prisoner of war at the Andersonville Confederate POW camp.
“Both lived up to 1921 and 1923,” said Mangus. “We’re going to do a special memorial service for these comrades…We would like to take our pictures if we can and take them as far back as we can, clear to the Civil War.”
Mangus said he wanted the commissioners to consider allowing the VFW to place the banners.
“I know there was a lot of conversation that went on during that time period and a lot of different ideas and the groups had different ideas,” said Steven Wallis, vice-president of the commission. “It was kind of like you would come back to us once you had it all figured out and (when) you had a plan to do and everybody was fine with that. There was also some things that popped up about hanging these on those light poles as you’re probably aware and that was another piece that needed taken into consideration. We’ve done nothing further from that point until you guys were to have gotten five groups together and you’d come back to us. I assume that’s what you’re here for this evening.”
Mangus said out of five veteran groups, they had four endorsements and had not had the opportunity to speak with the last veteran group but would after seeing what answer they would receive from the commissioners. The commander said the post would be willing to absorb the expense of the banners and their hanging equipment. Ideally, the post would like to hang the banners down Second Avenue and rotate different veterans being featured.
“I know a lot of our conversation back then we had talked about year round or around the weeks of the holidays and here we’re talking maybe two or three weeks,” said Wallis. “There’s a lot to take into consideration.”
City Manager Gene Greene, a veteran himself, said he felt the conditions of the poles for the banners should be examined as there had been previous problems with them for safety sake. Mangus said he would bring the brackets and hanging equipment to Greene to examine. Wallis thanked the honor guard for stopping in and asked it to give the city time to check and discuss the banners to be hung.
More on this week’s meeting in an upcoming edition.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.