'They need to be remembered'
By Mark Perkiss - Staff Writer nj.com
John Moore, who hit the beaches of Normandy six days after D-Day in 1944 and fought in France and Germany, choked up yesterday as he looked at plans for a New Jersey World War II memorial to be built in Trenton.
"This is for the guys that stayed over there and didn't come back with us," he said as his eyes filled with tears. "They need it. They need to be remembered."
Moore, 84, of Kenilworth, was one of about 50 veterans who attended a ceremony to dedicate the site for the memorial, which will be built in Veterans Park, directly across West State Street from the State House.
The state does not have a memorial honoring World War II veterans, though about a third of New Jersey's 670,000 veterans served during that conflict. There are state memorials honoring Vietnam veterans (in Holmdel) and Korean veterans (in Atlantic City).
Plans for the $4 million project call for a circular monument to be highlighted by a sculpture in the center dubbed "Lady Victory" and surrounded by markers honoring each of the military services involved in World War II and "story walls" showing contributions by New Jersey soldiers in battle and their families back home.
The design also calls for displays of battle scenes from both Europe and the Pacific.
The Trenton site, which is owned by the state, was chosen by a 13-member commission appointed by Gov. James E. McGreevey and headed by the governor's father, Jack, a former Marine drill instructor who served in World War II and the Korean War.
The state has allocated $2 million for the memorial and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which helped fund the Korean War memorial, is contributing $1 million and the commission plans to raise the remaining $1 million.
The plan has drawn ire from a small veterans group that dedicated a memorial to "all New Jersey veterans of all wars" in the park in 1998 and says it was not consulted about the
plans to use Veterans Park for the World War ll memorial.
'We dedicated a memorial there and now they want to push us away and stick a World War II memorial in a place that's far too small," said John Warwick, president of the Vietnam
Combat Veterans Coalition, which has about 100 members.
" It doesn't make sense to change the purpose of a park already dedicated to veterans and what they're doing is an injustice to World War II veterans and does not properly honor them," he said.
Stephen Abel, the state's acting deputy commissioner for veterans affairs at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said the existing monument and a tree planted in the park in honor of former Gov. Christie Whitman will be moved but be retained as part of the new monument.
"This group is not losing anything," Abel said. "The plaque they have will be moved to a more prominent place near the front of the monument and we're continuing to call the park
Veterans Park," he said.
Plans call for construction of the World War II memorial to start in March and be completed in the fall of 2005.
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