History of the Memorial at Berkeley Heights Veterans Memorial Park

The beginnings of the Memorial at Berkeley Heights Veterans Memorial Park go back to the years just after World War I, when the town of Berkeley Heights (known then as the Township of New Providence) commissioned a memorial plaque to honor service in that conflict. That plaque was set in a concrete marker and erected near the train station, where it rested until the end of Word War II. Seven sons of the town had been lost in that war, and a plaque bearing their names was commissioned, set in a stone, and erected in front of a copse of trees in the park across from Town Hall, near the northwest corner of Park Avenue and Plainfield Avenue.

Sometime later, the World War I plaque was removed from its concrete marker, set in a matching stone, and erected next to the World War II stone. The park in which the memorial stones were placed came to be known as Memorial Field.

As time passed, shrubs became overgrown or died. The stones weathered and grew moss. Two more wars came and passed.

In the mid 1980s, a group of volunteers, members of the VFW and American Legion, and a number of public officials decided to update the Memorial. A committee was formed in 1986. Various plans were considered, funds were raised, and a new Memorial was unveiled on Memorial Day of 1987. That Memorial, which stands today, consists of a low wall bearing the inscription, “A Time to Pause and Remember,” a brick walk leading to the flagpole and wall, appropriate landscaping, and, most importantly, two new stones and plaques that commemorate those who served in the wars in Korea and Southeast Asia. The Memorial is a landmark of which the town can be proud, and a fitting tribute to those whom it honors.

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