Religions and Spirituality

Spotswood Unveils New Statue In Memorial Walkway Marking Memorial Day

Spotswood residents Travis and Grace Fryzowicz donated the Battlefield Cross Memorial to the borough's Memorial Walkway. The Battlefield Cross was unveiled on May 28 at a special ceremony. Credits: Dawn Miller
Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely reminded residents to take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service not only during Memorial Day, but at other times during the year as well. Credits: Dawn Miller
A universal prayer and a playing of "Taps" were a part of the Memorial Day remembrance services in Spotswood to mark Memorial Day 2018. Credits: Dawn Miller

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Memorial Day honors the lives of those lost in battle and the borough marked this Memorial Day by unveiling a new addition to its Memorial Walkway on Summerhill Road on May 28. A Battlefield Cross now stands in the middle of the walkway dedicated to the service of men and women who served their country in all of the US armed conflicts since the American Revolution. While the park with its memorials, flags and fountain are a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifices made for freedom, longtime borough resident and Vietnam veteranTravis Fryzowicz felt something was missing after a visit to a veterans memorial park in Richmond, Indiana. A Battlefield Memorial with a soldier's boots and a down-turned rifle with a helmet on the handle caught Fryzowicz's eye and the Marine embarked on journey to bring one to the borough.

The emergence of the Battlefield Cross is a subject of conjecture with historians with some feeling it first made its appearance during the Civil War, marking the spot where a fallen soldier needed to be retrieved and buried. By World War I and II, the down-turned gun and helmet still served the same purpose, but took on a new meaning to recognize a life lost.

"It's the first honor a soldier gets," Fryzowicz explained.

Sign Up for E-News

In 1991 at the beginning of the Gulf War, the Battlefield Cross began to include boots and dog tags, serving as an international symbol for loss in the line of duty. Despite the term cross, the memorial does not hold any religious significance and is an honor bestowed on all fallen soldiers regardless of their religious background or military affiliation.

Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely, the borough's fire department, EMS, and members from both the American Legion Post 253 and VFW Post 4589 were on hand along with a small group of residents and veterans to attend the annual Memorial Day service that this year included the addition of the Battlefield Cross.

"The freedoms we enjoy have come at a very high price through the years," Seely said in his Memorial Day remarks. "And will likely continue to do so."

For Fryzowicz, the Battlefield Cross is a significant reminder of the saying "All gave some, some gave all." The often used military memorial saying comes from Korean War vet and Purple Heart recipient, Howard William Osterkamp. Osterkamp was wounded in the leg during the Korean War. The Ohio native was actually misdiagnosed by Army doctors and was sent back to the front lines with a fractured leg. Osterkamp served for another four months with a leg broken in two places.

Fryzowicz's mission to bring a Battlefield Cross Memorial to Spotswood began with a number of telephone calls, internet research and a concrete maker in Indiana. The Battlefield Cross was poured in Indiana and shipped to Hatfield, Pennsylvania where Fryzowicz drove to pick it up. He then sanded and stained the 90-pound memorial, which now takes center stage along Spotswood's Memorial Walkway. Fryowicz and his wife also donated the Purple Heart memorial to the borough several years ago.

Spotswood's Memorial Day observances will continue this afternoon with its annual parade down Main Street. The parade begins at 2 p.m. rain or shine at Schweitzer Mauduet on 85 East Main Street and will continue along Main Street to Devoe Avenue. It will conclude at the American Legion Post 253 on Devoe Avenue.

The following Spotswood residents lost their lives in the line of duty and are remembered along with countless others this Memorial Day:

  • Spc. Michael Luis Gonzalez - August 28, 2008
  • Cpl. Dennis Crane - Marine Corps - June 15, 1968
  • Pfc. Gary Richard Buttenbaum - Marine  Corps - May 9, 1967
  • Pfc. Otto (Skip) William Baumann, Jr. - Army - December 28, 1966
  • Pfc. James Brooks Heffron - Marine Corps - August 31, 1966
  • Fireman First Class, Willard O. Clark - Navy - May 28, 1945
  • Seaman Second Class Reese David Eaton - Navy - October 25, 1942
  • Sgt. Walter Burgess - Army - WW2
  • Pvt. Rosairo DeStefano - Army - WW2
  • Edward Koch, Jr. - WW2


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Rutgers Takes Over Police Dispatch Services

June 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University will provide the city’s police dispatching services in a move that New Brunswick says will cut costs and put an end to dispatcher shortages that resulted in officers doing the job.

The city’s 12 current dispatchers will be laid off at the end of the day on June 30, and Rutgers will supply dispatchers as of July 1 under an agreement that city ...

Thousands Expected in Hillsborough for Sourland Music Festival

June 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, July 14, 10:00 AM

Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood

Bag-of-Books Sale - Friends of Maplewood Library

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Middlesex County: Free Music, Fireworks and Fun in “A Revolutionary Celebration”

June 22, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ -  Want your 4th of July fun to last 7 days? Then bring your family and join in Middlesex County’s “Revolutionary Celebration” for 2018! Our Office of Arts and History has planned events for June 30 and July 1-7 that are fun, educational, and a great way to honor the spirit of Independence Day. Explore Highland Park, New ...

More than the Fourth of July, Make it a Star Spangled Week in the Long Beach Island Region of NJ

June 22, 2018

STAFFORD AND LONG BEACH ISLAND - Summer 2018 starts now, so time to enjoy the beauty of the Jersey Shore. As families and friends gather for the summer holiday, there is plenty of options to assist in rounding out July 4 vacation and getaways.

With July 4 falling on a Wednesday, there are many events surrounding the holiday.

The award winning Surf and Sip Brew Trail itinerary is available ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)


A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...