Do you have any plans for Veterans’ Day? Consider a trip to Princeton and Bluefield for museums, monuments, and patriotic events.
Here are some trip suggestions:
1. Mercer County War Museum
With its broad range and engaging displays, the Mercer County War Museum engages your attention from start to finish. It covers everything from the Civil War to modern times, and does so with more than 2,400 artifacts.
Highlights include the Memorial Room, which pays special tribute to local veterans, and medals earned by Junior Spurrier, Mercer County’s Medal of Honor recipient. The WWII veteran once captured a town singlehandedly from the Germans.
Not everything is preserved behind glass, either. There’s a tank (located outside), uniforms, models, and full-sized dioramas. Tours add dimension to your visit, too; just ask a veteran on staff.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
2. Vietnam Memorial
Princeton’s granite monument doesn’t sugarcoat warfare. Like its famous counterpart in Washington, D.C., this Vietnam Memorial says more than words could ever express. Without fanfare or fuss, it simply bears on the names of West Virginia veterans, one after the other, on sleek stone.
The Vietnam Memorial is located at the tourist information center off Exit 9 on I-77.
3. “In Honor of Those Who Served”
When you think of murals, vibrant colors and eye-popping effects come to mind. Princeton’s public artwork certainly follows that trend. But one of the paintings bucks expectations.
Located on the side of the Vietnam Veterans of America Building on Mercer Street, “In Honor of All Veterans” was finished in 2002 by painter Tom Acosta and his son, Elden Justice. It’s unabashedly patriotic. The American flag, which frames the top, is superimposed over a montage soldiers, jets, tanks, and an aircraft carrier.
4. The McNutt House
This 1840 home witnessed considerable action during the Civil War. In fact, Princeton burned during the “War Between the States,” making the McNutt House a rare survivor.
During the war, the simple white house served as headquarters for none other than Lt. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes and Sgt. William McKinley— two future presidents. It eventually became a hospital. For a time, visitors could see bloodstains on the wooden floor.
Today, the McNutt House is owned by the Chamber of Commerce. Feel free to pop in for a tour!
5. Veterans’ Day activities
Grab a flag and join the parade! After visiting Mercer County’s monuments and museums, you can attend several events as well.
Here’s what is on the schedule:
- Veterans’ Day Parade: Visit downtown Princeton on Nov. 10. The parade will start at noon on Mercer Street.
- Veteran’s Day Ball: The Bluefield Arts Center in Bluefield will have a black-tie event on Nov. 11 with dancing, music, guest speakers, and a silent auction. Hosted by Star-95. Call for tickets and information at: (304) 431-7827. Admission is free for veterans.
- Veterans’ Day Celebration: Head to Princeton’s Chuck Mathena Center on Nov. 12 for live music. The Veterans’ Day Celebration will feature soloists and the Pikeview Middle School Choir from noon to 3 p.m. Upbeat and patriotic, it will surely lift your spirits. Free admission.
Veterans range from military servicemen and women to foreign service officers and firefighters. Do you have somebody you’d like to honor? Share his or her story!