Lebanon PA: In junior high, Laurie Litz and Linda Wengert received an assignment to interview someone who lived through the depression. Charlie and Eva Hawkins, Jo Ellen Litz's great aunt and great uncle, were the perfect couple to interview. Charlie and Eva lived through the depression, and shared stories about growing a garden, raising chickens and pigs, dancing to big bands, ice skating, and more. After the depression, they paid their bills, then saved any extra money that they could. Jo Ellen took Laurie and Linda to the interview, and typed their questions and Charlie and Eva's responses.
Charlie died first, then Eva, and she decided to donate their entire estate to help build the Veteran's Memorial at Fort Indiantown Gap. They had traveled the world while Charlie served in the army. He loved the uniform.
Many years later, it was an honor for Jo Ellen Litz to share Charlie and Eva's words on behalf of the family.
The elaborate Pennsylvania Veterans' Memorial is the largest monument in VA's National cemeteries. The combination open-air space and building stands 107 feet high and 360 feet long. Its design evokes "the ruins of a war-torn building centered in a land of solemnity." Designed by Cee Jay Associates of West Chester, Pa., the granite, stone, and concrete composition was dedicated Oct. 7, 2001. The memorial is dedicated to all who serve the nation and veterans of all wars—past and future.
September 11, 2001, New York City was attacked by two hijacked airliners, and the Twin Towers collapsed. PA Governor Ridge had just resigned to become the head of Homeland Security for the nation, and Lt. Governor Schweiker stepped up to be Governor. Both men listened to the story of Charlie and Eva Hawkins.