New Jersey to build WWII memorial
By Michael Jennings | Trenton Times
Gov. James E. McGreevey yesterday announced plans to build a World War II memorial on West State Street opposite the State House.
The governor made the announcement during a ceremony honoring D-Day veterans. He said ground would be broken on the $1.5 million project on Veterans Day.
“It’s important that we pay tribute to the gentlemen and ladies who participated in that war which saved the country,” said Marty Runyon of Lawrence, who was among the 13 veterans appointed yesterday to a commission to make recommendations regarding the memorial.
“I’m very much honored to be a part of this,” Runyon said. “It’s something that should have been done in the past and now will be.”
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).
“More people see the Atlantic City monument in one day than see the Vietnam monument all year, because it’s on the boardwalk,” said another commission member, Albert Hujdich of Bordentown Township.
He was a member of the panel that oversaw the creation of those memorials. He said the same person who designed those memorials will likely design the World War II monument.
“Location is very important – you want people to see it,” he said.
Hujdich said there was considerable debate over the Trenton site.
There is little parking nearby, few evening visitors to that section of Trenton and the small parcel will restrict the size of the memorial, he said.
Hujdich said cost savings outweighed those concerns. The state owns the land where the memorial will be built. It is now a small urban park.
He said the Trenton location will be accessible to the busloads of students who visit the State House and State Museum daily during the school year.
McGreevey named his father, Jack, a former Marine drill instructor, to head the memorial commission. Jack McGreevey served in World War II and the Korean War. He will not be paid for his work on the commission.
The governor has a personal interest in honoring the sacrifices of World War II veterans. He was named for his father’s brother James who died during the battle of Iwo Jima.
Ben Roth of Monroe, another commission member, said the panel hopes to dedicate the monument on Veterans Day 2005.
The legislature is expected to agree to the $1.5 million funding request.
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