The Memorial brings to New Jersey a fitting acknowledgment of the valor displayed by New Jersey residents who never returned from service in Southeast Asia. Its companion project, the educational center, will provide a means to present factual information about the era and those who served during it.
Construction of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial was made possible by individuals, businesses and corporations, veterans' and service organizations, civic groups, and municipalities and counties throughout the state. The total cost of the Memorial and Memorial Hall was expected to be $5 Million. Generous donations of building materials and construction services were made by private contractors.
Donors could designate their contribution to cover the cost of one of the paving stones in the Memorial Walkway or toward the cost of one of the 366 black granite panels along the inner wall of the Memorial. More than 212,000 residents of New Jersey served in Vietnam.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial sits on a gently sloping hillside off exit 116 on the Garden State Parkway near the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel. The Garden State's beautiful and inspiring Memorial to its men and women who served during the Vietnam War sits on a lush, 10-acre site visible to motorists passing by on the Parkway.
Comprised of 366 polished black granite panels, each 8-feet high, this Memorial honors all those who served and, in particular, pays tribute to New Jersey's sons and daughters who went to Southeast Asia but did not return. The panels, one for each day of the year, are engraved with the names of more than 1,500 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen from New Jersey, who were killed or are still listed as missing in action.
At the center of the Memorial stands a Red Oak - the State tree - shading statues of two men and one woman, representing service members from all five branches of military service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. A paved walkway of engraved and marked stones leads up to the Memorial. Also planned and now partially completed is Memorial Hall, a documents and research center where educational and historical exhibits will be housed. A roll of honor of all who contribute to the Memorial is part of a permanent record to be maintained in Memorial Hall.
This Memorial honors not only the memories of those who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam but also helps to provide a long overdue "Welcome Home" to all Vietnam Veterans and serves as an enduring symbol of the very costly yet extremely valuable lessons learned from this tragic episode in our world's history.
Hien Nguyen, who fled war-torn South Vietnam in 1975 and who now lives in Monmouth County, designed the Memorial. Nationally renowned sculptor, Thomas J. Warren of Trenton, created the sculptures.
The JPEG files are explained in the following table which includes the filename and a description/narrative.
Welcoming sign to the NJ VVM, adjacent to parking.
An uphill walk on a peaceful, wooded path to a road leading to the Memorial.
The road to the top is lined with bricks, purchased in memory of the missing and the dead.
Here, you can begin to see the depth the impact had -- on Mothers, Fathers, Spouces, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, and others -- caused by the death of those memorialized. The bricks line both sides of the way.
Marines, US Air Force, and Army - Sons, Brothers, Husbands,
Missed by Moms & Dads, messages of loved ones' pride in them.
Reaching the top of the road, you bend around either side to come into the Memorial at a lower level.
As you come out of a tunnel inside the Memorial, you are drawn to a statue that represents a dying serviceman. His friend and a nurse comfort him.
Coming closer, you can see anguish etched in the faces of those who were there -- the dying and the survivors -- for the moment.
The dying man's hands reach for something -- comfort, help, a good-bye to those at home.
Climbing the steps up from the bottom, you begin to approach the wall where the names of over 1,500 are listed in honor. You notice that others are here to honor the dead, even on a quiet, fall day.
Looking back to ground level, you see the fallen in the shade of a large oak.
Granite panels, bearing the names, are in a complete circle -- The Alpha and The Omega -- listed by the day of the year each died. Some came home to be buried, and others were never found, with some of the survivors perhaps wondering why they were spared.
People like Philip K. Dorn -- I did not know him; but his family (and they do not know me) runs a photo store in Red Bank, NJ. You can just imagine that he might have been behind the counter when I bought film for these pictures -- but for..
My classmate, Richard G. Lewis. I remember his '67 Pontiac GTO that he had in flight school.
The panels where, in 5 days, NJ lost 44 of its sons.