American Heroes

American Heroes

West Virginia has always been committed to country, and the Mountain State has the highest number of men and women serving in the military per capita, a long, proud mountaineer tradition. Pay homage to our fallen heroes across the hills, and learn more about how war time has shaped our history.



Our Nation’s Finest in Weston

Explore the boyhood home of a war hero, and artifacts of our area's biggest conflicts. - Read More


WVU Jackson’s Mill
160 WVU Jackson Mill, Weston, WV 26452
Start at the childhood home of Civil War Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The tactically-minded man who became a symbol of heroism came to this sprawling farmstead as a young orphan, and the original mill from his boyhood still stands. You can explore the grounds and watch live demos of heritage crafts, including gristmilling, blacksmithing, candle making and more. You can even arrange classes to learn some of the arts.

[Tip:] Stop into the general store before you leave for some WV-made jellies, soaps, folk art and cornmeal ground at from the mill.

Mountaineer Military Museum 345 Center St, Weston, WV 26452
“I’ll never let anyone forget you guys.” The lone soldier to make it home fulfilled his promise to his childhood friends by building this museum as a memorial. Exhibits feature artifacts from several wars and explore personal stories, medicine in the military, headgear, transport and more.


PLAN AROUND:

Jackson’s Mill Jubilee
Enjoy all the heritage crafts of Jackson’s Mill, but add in a big celebration of old-fashioned music, local vendors, fresh Appalachian foods and more. Civil War reenactors will be camped out to lead you through history, and you’ll have plenty more opportunities to try your hand at the farm activities.


For more information about what to see & do in Weston, check the Lewis County CVB.

Honoring Service & Remembering Stories in Fairmont

Pay respects at military memorials, and even view a restored helicopter from the Vietnam War. - Read More


Marion County Historical Society Museum
211 Adams St, Fairmont, WV 26554
This all-encompassing Historical Society Museum has a lot of history to share, including collections from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Trace the tale of our state’s founding during the war, and of Marion County’s critical role in its rebuilding afterward. While you’re there, explore the rest of the area’s compelling stories, and the old jail cells upstairs.

[Tip:] The historical society is close to some great restaurants in downtown Fairmont, and you can stop in for a bite on a stroll down to the Veterans Plaza.

Marion County Military Veterans Plaza Corner of Adams St. & Madison St., Fairmont, WV 26554
Among the tranquil 7,500-square-foot plaza, reflect on the sacrifices Marion County’s soldiers bravely made for freedom. Stoic statues stand over the square, depicting heroes from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Marion County Vietnam Veterans Memorial off exit 136 of I-79, Fairmont, WV 26554
At the Vietnam Memorial, you can see a real Huey UH-1D helicopter that flew in the war, logging 4908 hours in the sky. Volunteers meticulously restored the aircraft to make it look polished to pay respect to the Marion Countians who served. Beside the memorial is a Purple Heart Monument with bricks inscribed with the names of heroes who have earned the prestigious distinction.

Korean War Memorial off I-79 beside the Marion CVB
Though it is still being built, the first piece, a massive Patriot Flag, is waving proudly in view of the interstate. The flag stands a staggering 125 feet tall, making it 38 meters high, a reference to the 38th parallel, along which Korea was divided during the war. The pole that hoists the 30x60-foot flag is black, so that in the night hours, it looks as though the majestic flag is flying by itself.

Civil War Trail Markers
6 historic markers dot the area, including the home and grave of "Father of West Virginia," 2 bridge-side battle sites and more.


PLAN AROUND:

Francis H. Peirpont’s Birthday
West Virginia formed during the chaos of the Civil War, seceding from Confederate Virginia. The “Father of West Virginia,” Francis H. Pierpont, grew up in Marion County. The Marion County Historical Society Museum celebrates with cake, and honoring his legacy! Come learn about his contributions both during the war and after, and also about his wife, Julia, who was responsible for beginning Memorial Day.


ALSO SEE:

Woodlawn Cemetery 335 Maple Ave., Fairmont, WV 26554
Stroll the serene final resting place of many of Marion County’s most important figures. Among the 11,000 graves are veterans from 8 wars. Those laid to rest have shaped the area and the country, placing the cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mannington Memorial & Museum
Just outside of Fairmont, you can visit the town of Mannington. Visit the Vietnam War Memorial, then stop into the West Augusta Historical Society Wilson School Museum, where you can find artifacts from the "Father of West Virginia." Mannington is also known for its patriotic celebrations, including Veterans Day ceremonies and the old-fashioned 4th of July fair.

REST in Fairmont for the evening. Try a pepperoni roll, West Virginia’s state food, while you’re in the town that originated this treat!

For more information about what to see & do in Morgantown, check the Marion County CVB.

Contemplate & Commemorate in Morgantown

Remember JFK and the Pearl Harbor attacks under the mast of the sunken (and resiliently restored) USS West Virginia. - Read More


Oglebay Plaza Bell
Dedicated to the 106 soldiers who lost their lives when the USS West Virginia sank in Pearl Harbor, the bell sits alongside the commemorative plaque and the mast of the ship. The ship was resurrected after the attack, restored and returned to service before the end of the war. Each year, a bell ringing ceremony honors the fallen sailors.

JFK Memorial Park
Powerful words from a former leader of our country seem to echo loudly in the JFK Memorial Park, though they are only written in the stone. A young child, in the same outfit and pose as young JFK when he saluted the casket of his father, salutes his fellow statue, immortalizing that positive sentiment for our nation’s future. Contemplate the impact as you take a hike or cycle along the nearby Mon River Trail.

[Tip:] Plenty of local restaurants in Morgantown offer military or veteran discounts. Call ahead and ask your eatery of choice if they have a discount available.

For more information about what to see & do in Morgantown, check the Greater Morgantown CVB.

National Cemetery & WWII Museum

Compare authentic war attire from different eras, and visit the grave of the Civil War's first casualty. - Read More


Grafton National Cemetery
431 Walnut St., in Grafton, WV
On the way to Rowlesburg, stop in for a somber remembrance of the more than 2,000 soldiers buried here, and their sacrifices. One of the men resting here eternally is believed to be the first casualty of the Civil War, marked with an obelisk. Markers also commemorate those whose bodies were not recovered. Only one governor of the state hasn’t spoken at the site.

Greatest Generation WWII Museum Corner of Catherine St. & Buffalo St.
From fully adorned soldier mannequins to war-time memorabilia, this unique exhibit chronicles WWII in great detail. Each mannequin is decorated with accoutrements, medals and attire, authentic down to the shoe laces.


PLAN AROUND:

WWII Living History Weekend
Several states come together to recreate wartime each June in Rowlesburg. Jeeps, equipment and other authentic WWII items all swarm the town. The event includes a USO dance, a meet-and-greet with veterans, a wreath ceremony and more.

“Flower Strewing Day”
On Memorial Day, a parade heads down the Grafton streets, ending at the cemetery, where children dressed in white place flowers at each grave marker.

For more information about what to see & do in Rowlesburg, check the Preston County CVB.