Hammonton Veterans Memorial Park

1.  Introduction.  Located within a short walking distance of the Hammonton downtown business area, Hammonton Veterans Memorial Park is an area set aside to honor and remember those Hammontonians who answered the call of their country in time of war and peril.  The Park consists of one acre of ground located between historic Bellevue Avenue on the northwest and Vine Street on the southeast.

 

 

Figure 1.  The Park’s Podium

Its northeast boundary is School House Lane, while Hammonton’s Presbyterian Church is to the southwest. In addition to honoring the veterans of past wars, the Park also provides space for a moment of peaceful respite from the hectic days of current living.

Historically, the park consisted of two parcels of farmland respectively owned by Mary Tilton and Marietta Jacobs of Hammonton, with each parcel stretching from Bellevue Avenue to Vine Street. On March 29, 1910, ownership of the parcels was transferred to the Hammonton Board of Education which was considering building a local “high school” on the land. As it turned out, the high school was eventually built on the south side of Vine Street instead of the north side and the land became a park. It was initially called “Central School Park” but was later shortened to simply “School Park”.  Shortly after World War I it was decided to place the memorial for that war in the School Park.  Still later it was further decided to put two World War II memorials also in the School Park, paving the way for the practice of placing wartime memorials in the Park. On March 28, 1974 title to the Park was transferred to the Town of Hammonton from the Hammonton Board of Education. And at that time, the Park was renamed Veterans Memorial Park, which name it continues to have to the present day.

 

 

 

Figure 2:  Landscape view of podium.

 

 

Figure 3:  Landscape view of Veterans Memorial Park

By 1974, the Park contained three war memorial monuments, one for World War I and two for World War II.  A fourth memorial covering the veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars was added in 1987 bringing the total number of monuments to its current number of four (as of 2012).

Each monument is respectively described in the paragraphs that follow.

 

 

2. World War I (The Great War) Memorial 
a. Comments.  This memorial monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1921.  It is constructed of rusticated pink marble with a bronze plaque on the front listing the names of those who served in World War I.  Funding for the monument was obtained from local businesses, enterprises and individuals as well as the Town of Hammonton itself.  The monument was constructed and erected by O. J. Hammell Company of Pleasantville, N. J.  The thirteen foot high monument is topped by a bronze eagle perched on a marble sphere.Adjacent to the monument is a semicircle set of ground-level head stones bearing in bronze the names of each individual who died in the Great War.  The markers include the individual’s unit name, their date of death and the circumstances in which they died.  Shown in Figure 5 is the headstone of Private Joseph A. Passalaqua who was killed in action on October 22, 1918.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Hammonton is named in his honor.

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Figure 4: World War I Memorial

 

Figure 5:  Headstone of Private Joseph A. Passalaqua

  

The monument was originally located along the centerline of the park and facing Bellevue Avenue.  In 1947, related to the construction of the World War II Deceased monument, the World War I monument was moved from its center line location to a point in the northeastern part of the park to make room for the World War II Deceased monument in the northwestern part.  To everyone’s surprise, during the excavation to move the World War I monument, a two foot square sealed copper box, buried on May 12, 1921, was discovered beneath it containing memorabilia of that era.

b.  Inscription:  The inscription on the monument reads:

Roll of Honor

Erected by the Residents of

Hammonton, New Jersey

In Honor Of Those Who Served Their Country

IN THE GREAT WORLD WAR

In Memoriam

c.  Roll of Honor:  Listed in the Roll of Honor are the names of the brave Hammontonians who served in the armed forces of their country with honor and distinction during World War I, and to whom their fellow citizens are forever grateful.

Click Here  to view WWI Roll of Honor

 

3. World War II Honor Roll Memoriala.  Comments.  This simple, elegant memorial consists of a 15 foot high.

 

Figure 6: World War II Memorial

Gray stone rectangular obelisk with a sculptured lamp burning the flame of eternal vigilance at the top.  The monument forms a long rectangular shaped prism, narrower at the top than the bottom.  Each side contains an insignia of each branch of the four services—Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Also, each side contains a copy of the monument’s inscription. At the bottom of the four sides are the names of the war veterans inscribed on bronze plaques, now turned green with time.

 

 

Figure 7: Northwest Facade of World War II Memorial (With Army Insignia)

 

 

Figure 8: Southwest Facade of World War II Memorial (With Navy Insignia)

 

 

Figure 9: Southeast Facade of World War II Memorial (With Air Force Insignia)

 

 

 

 

Figure 10: Northeast Facade of World War II Memorial (With Marine Corps Insignia)                  

The Monument was dedicated on May 30, 1952 as part of the Memorial Day’s services for that year. The largest Memorial Day observance in the history of the community was planned for the dedication, with Marines from the Philadelphia Navy Yard, sailors from Pomona Naval air base and soldiers from Fort Dix all invited to attend along with distinguished speakers and guests. Unfortunately the weather man was not very cooperative and dedication day came with heavy rains and downpours, to the dismay of local officials. The weather notwithstanding, Mayor and members of Town Council, along with the invited military and political guests, still braved the rain with staunch hearts when the dedication program started at 11 a.m., following several delays.
b.  Inscription:  The inscription on the monument, repeated on each side of the monument, reads:

World War II

1941-1945

A tribute of

respect and

honor to the

dead.  A constant

source   of

inspiration to

the living men

and women of

this community.

c.  Roll of Honor: Listed in the Roll of Honor are the names of the Hammontonians who served in the armed forces of their country with honor and distinction during World War II, and to whom their fellow citizens are forever grateful.

Click Here to view WWII Roll of Honor

4. World War II Deceased Memorial 

 

Figure 12.  World War II Deceased Monument

a.  Comments:  The World War II Deceased Memorial is exclusively dedicated  to the memory of those Hammontonians killed in the service of their country during World War II. The 8 feet tall gray stone monument features a tall center panel carved with an eagle and inscribed with 33 names of those Hammonton residents who lost their lives in World War II. On short wings, at either side of the main shaft, are the Army and Navy seals.The proud sponsor of the monument was the Hammonton Joseph Garibaldi Lodge of the Sons of Italy of America, which carried out solicitations throughout the town for its construction. While the actual construction of the monument was completed in 1947, its unveiling and dedication were delayed until the following year to Sunday April 25, 1948, in time for the 1948 Memorial Day celebrations occurring the following month.   The monument stands in the northwestern part of the park and complements the larger World War II Honor Roll monument located in the central part of the park.

Inscription:  The inscription on the monument reads:

Dedicated to the Honored Memory of our Loved

Ones who so Nobly Gave their Lives for

FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY in World War II.

b.     Roll of Honor:  Listed in the Roll of Honor are the names of the Hammontonians who gave their lives while serving with the Armed Forces of their country during World War II.

5.  Korea & Vietnam Wars Memorial 

 

Figure 13.  Korea-Vietnam Wars Monument

           
a. Comments.  This memorial consists of a 6 ½ feet tall center gray-stone panel engraved with an eagle, along with two individual side panels. The names of Hammontonians who served in the Korean and/or Vietnam wars are inscribed on both the front and backsides of the panels.The monument’s construction was authorized by a town ordinance appropriating $7,500 for its construction. It was dedicated on May 25 of 1987, Memorial Day of that year; and is located in the southwestern part of the park.b.  Inscription:  The inscription on the monument reads:

DEDICATED TO

THOSE OF ALL SERVICES

WHO HAVE SERVED

AND DIED IN

KOREA

AND

VIETNAM

c. Roll of  Honor: Listed in the Roll of Honor are the names of the Hammontonians who served in the armed forces of their country with honor and distinction during the Korean or Vietnam wars, and to whom their fellow citizens are forever grateful.

Click here to view the Korean-Vietnam Wars Roll of Honor