Last year, someone noticed lights meant to illuminate the West Virginia Veterans Memorial at the State Capitol Complex in Charleston were not working. That apparently was news to state officials, who were not aware the lighting system was malfunctioning.

Apparently there is some confusion over who is supposed to maintain the lights.

The Department of Administration is looking for a contractor to make repairs.

Finished in 1999, the $4 million monument is an impressive, sobering reminder of the cost of war and the patriotism of Mountain State residents. One of its features is black granite into which the names of the more than 10,000 West Virginians killed in 20th century wars are engraved.

It’s a shame, then, that the lights were allowed to deteriorate to the point they malfunctioned.

As the monument’s sculptor, P. Joseph Mullins, told a reporter, “This thing ought to be maintained …”

Yes, it should.

It is a mark of the high regard in which West Virginians hold those who have served us in the military. And again, it is a reminder of how many left our mountains and hollows to answer their country’s call – and didn’t make it back home.

Once the lights are repaired, officials should ensure the monument is maintained properly.

It is little enough to do out of respect for our veterans.