RARITAN, NJ – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Sept. 12 at the new Veterans Park on West Somerset Street.
Veterans and members of the Basilone Parade Committee were in attendance along with state, county and municipal officials. The park is located adjacent to the statue of World War II hero John Basilone.
“This park is dedicated to all Somerset County veterans, from all branches of the military and from all wars and conflicts,” said Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer. “We thank you for your service and your sacrifice.”
The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors at the start of the ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano.
Speakers included former Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco, president of the Somerset County Park Commission; Sen. Michael Doherty, a West Point graduate and retired U.S. Army captain; Freeholder Brian D. Levine, veterans’ services liaison; Raritan Mayor Chuck McMullin; and Basilone Committee Chairman John Pacifico. A prayer concluding the ceremony was offered by the Rev. John Rozembajgier of St. Ann’s Parish.
The park consists of a landscaped semi-circle of brick pavers with nine flags representing the U.S., New Jersey, Somerset County and the branches of the service. There are three monuments as well: one recognizing all service men and women, one dedicated to all veterans from Raritan Borough, and a plaque in memory of borough men killed in action during World War I, World War II and the Korean War. The two Raritan monuments previously were located at the municipal building.
The $293,156 contract was awarded in June to Neto Contractors Inc. of Middlesex; the design engineer was Keller & Kirkpatrick Inc. of Morris Plains. Ground was broken on Sept. 16, 2016. The project was managed by the county Engineering Division.