Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Jersey

The official memorial for New Jersey is located in Holmdel, exit 116 off the Garden State Parkway at the Garden State Arts Center.

One enters the memorial through passages in the berm supporting it, so, once you have entered, you are completely enclosed by the monument. There are a couple of components to the site. There is a striking statue of a wounded soldier being tended by a nurse. He is reaching out to his friend who is nearby. This is yet another example of the recognition of the comradeship between races and genders created by Vietnam. As mentioned previously, this is a common theme at these sites. The statue is shaded by a Red Oak, the New Jersey State tree.

The statue is surrounded by a large circular wall. The wall consists of 366 panels (one for each day of the year) on which are inscribed the names of the 1562 who never returned. Each one is listed on the panel that corresponds to the day on which the hero perished.

A walkway leads one past every panel. That the site is a place for reflection is underscored by the actual reflection of the panels. Being circular creates a never ending reflection of the panels and the visitor, who is now deeply enmeshed in the memorial.

There is also a walkway approaching the monument, many of the stones are marked and engraved with names.

The following was taken directly from the memorial website.

"... The pavilion contains many symbols. Its circular form enfolds the names engraved upon the wall in its embrace. The highly polished granite wall reflects the visitor, creating a special and unique union. The tunnel entrances symbolize the transition from the safety and security of our world to the very different realities of war. The trees lining the walkways to the entrance evoke images of soldiers on tactical road patrol throughout the dangerous countryside. At the center of the pavilion, our official state tree, the red oak, symbolizes the state that many soldiers left and never returned to. The tree gives shade to the returning veterans, sheltering them, while at the same time leaves them exposed to other elements. Finally, the three bronze figures under the tree represent men and women of all races and backgrounds - symbolizing those who came home, the women who served and, those who did not return."

More on this site, soon.


  1. I'm glad I got to go to this site. I think this one has my favorite statues. It also really gave you a sense of being closed off from the rest of the world - as if this place was sacred ground, as, indeed, it is.

  2. This is an amazing memorial- clearly on the scope of DC. Each one is unique and presents a differing perspective. The photographs are impressive- crisp and clear.