Hudson County unveiled a World War II hero’s statue at a park that bears his name in Bayonne yesterday, where city and county officials applauded the measure.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Speaking at 43rd Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, County Commissioner Kenny
Kopacz (D-1) said that the statue ceremony was his “proudest moment” as a county official.
He described the new statue as “a symbol of hope and courage, while County Executive Tom DeGise commended Gregg for his “heroism.”
He pointed out that by defending seven wounded men from the Germans in southern France in 1944, Gregg allowed them to father the generations in their families that have followed. Gregg received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his service.
Additionally, DeGise predicted that the Gregg statue would become “a teacher of history” for future generations.
Gina Hulings, the director of the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and Tourism Development, thanked all of the county officials and everyone else who helped move the statue from idea to reality during the past few years.
The statue’s sculptor, J. Brett Grill, who came in from Michigan, said it was “humbling to be here.” He explained why he chose to cast the statue in bronze by calling that metal “the maker of permanence.”
Additionally, Stephen R. Gregg, Jr. recalled that his father was still alive in 1995 when
Bayonne Park was renamed in his honor. He said that the statue “cements his
He also recalled that his father was born Stephen Grzegocky to Polish immigrant parents in The Bronx in 1914. The family moved to Bayonne six months later. His son reported that the future war hero grew up swimming in the Kill Van Kull.
This skill helped get him escape an advancing German army in Europe during World War II. Stephen R. Gregg, Jr. said that his father viewed himself as “a representative of all veterans.”
The son described his father as “an ordinary man who did something stupendous.”
Stephen R. Gregg, Jr. also noted that his father came back from World War II to a
hero’s welcome in Hudson County in 1945, when 50,000 people turned out for a
parade in his honor.
The Congressional Medal of Honor recipient was employed by Hudson County from 1945 to 1995, and finished his career as chief of the court officers for the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office. Stephen R. Gregg died in 2005.