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State Honoree

Alexander Gates

Pennsylvania

Alexander Gates, 14, of Palmyra, Pa., an eighth-grader at Palmyra Area Middle School, led an effort to erect a monument commemorating Palmyra-area veterans who were killed in wartime military service. Inspired by the movie “Saving Private Ryan” and the courage of his grandfather’s generation during World War II, Alexander designed a six-foot obelisk and obtained the approval of city officials. He then raised $8,250 to build the monument by selling granite bricks that would be inscribed with contributors’ names and placed around the base of the memorial. A group of volunteers helped him prepare the site, install the obelisk and benches, and plant landscaping. The inscription on Alexander’s obelisk reads: “This monument honors the spirit of self-sacrifice which is necessary for the survival of a community. It honors those members of the community who paid the ultimate price so we can live in a free and just country.”