DESIGNS UNVEILED FOR NEW VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL IN ELMHURST PARKFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 9, 2017
DESIGNS UNVEILED FOR NEW VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL IN ELMHURST PARK
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, today joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., Council Member Daniel Dromm, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 Michael O’Kane, and National President of the Vietnam Veterans of America John Rowan to debut the design for a memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War in Elmhurst Park.
“Parks are gathering spaces where New Yorkers come to grow and play, but also to learn and reflect,” said Commissioner Silver. “This memorial has been designed to provide community members with a place to sit and honor their friends and loved ones, and for younger generations to read about the history of the Vietnam War. It will provide a lasting memorial to ensure that their legacy lives on.”
“More veterans call Queens home than any other borough, and the Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be a fitting and dignified tribute to those who served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Borough President Katz. “The vision for a physical, borough-wide memorial was first forged by our own veterans who wanted to memorialize the sacrifices made by hundreds of Queens residents and their families during what was a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. The designs unveiled today is another step forward toward the fulfillment of a promise made years ago.”
"Queens' Vietnam War veterans deserve to be honored and remembered for their sacrifices," said Council Member Dromm. "This memorial will educate Elmhurst residents on the war and serve as a fitting tribute to our borough's fallen heroes. I am pleased to have worked with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to secure the funding for this important project. Improving and expanding green space in my district remains a top priority for me."
“After years of anticipation, I’m so pleased to see the design for this memorial which will honor the lives of so many who fought for our freedom,” said Council Member Crowley. “It’s so important to have daily reminders, whether it’s in our parks or along our streets, of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice when protecting and serving our great country and ensure their legacy lives on. Thank you to NYC Parks Commissioner Silver, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 32 for their dedication and continued advocacy.”
"The Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial brings to fruition a dream of former Chapter 32 President Pat Toro’s, which was conceived in 2008,” said Michael O’Kane. “It was Pat’s dream that families of fallen Vietnam Veterans would have a centralized place to gather and reflect on their loved ones sacrifice. Thanks to Borough President Melinda Katz and her staff for funding and all their help and guidance during the process. Thanks also to the Parks Design team for their tireless work in dealing with VVA Chapter 32, and for developing a beautiful memorial design that does justice to their sacrifice.”
The semi-enclosed memorial will provide a contemplative space that honors those Queens residents who fell during the Vietnam War, the memorial was designed by NYC Parks in consultation with the Vietnam Veterans of America local Chapter 32. Two semi-circular granite walls flank the space. One bears the name of the memorial, the five crests of the military and the Vietnam Service Medal. On the inside of the wall, an etching of bamboo represents a common element of the Vietnam War. The second wall provides the history of the war including key events and dates, as well as the names of the fallen, which have been placed strategically to receive sun during the day. The granite walls, as well as the existing flagpole, will both be illuminated at night.
Inside of the enclosure sits a radial bench, and in the center of the oval, a granite map of Vietnam with key locations highlighted. The space is designed to be able to host small memorial gatherings to remember the heroes it honors. Plantings will also be added as a living memorial, and to soften the edge of the space.
The project is funded with a total of $2.85 million allocated by Borough President Katz and the City Council ($550,000). The necessary capital was fully secured with Borough President Katz's allocations of $2.3 million to-date, a continuation of her commitment made initially as a member of the City Council. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2018, with an expected completion of fall 2019.