North Bergen and West New York pay tribute to their fallen heroes on Memorial Day

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North Bergen held a Memorial Day ceremony with Hudson County officials in James J. Braddock Park where they christened a new memorial while West New York held a ceremony at Veterans Park.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“Today, we gather here today in memory of our fallen heroes who made it possible for us to be here and live in freedom. We honor those who never came back,” said Hudson County Board of Commissioners Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8).

He also noted that Township Commissioners Julio Marenco and Frank Gargiulo are veterans.

“The park looks absolutely wonderful, and our new monument is really first-class,” state Senator (D-33)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco said about the unveiling of the new war memorial at the park.

“We honor those who never came back, who we lost, and it’s fitting, a fitting tribute to those people because without their sacrifice, our country can’t be free.”

Representatives of the American Legion and the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) also joined the elected officials in the ribbon cutting.

Additionally, Vainieri lamented that the memorial was a year overdue due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

The memorial consists of stones commemorating veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Iraqi Freedom war.

Each stone has on the front a picture of the President of the United States at the time it began, the war’s date, and a picture from that time. Furthermore, the back displays is the number of American soldiers who perished on the battlefield.

Murray Construction Company constructed the memorial, and Burns Brothers, based in Jersey City, created the monuments. Vainieri said it cost a little less than $450,000.

Just down the road, the West New York Memorial Day ceremony was held at Veterans Park.

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez was joined by Commissioners Margarita Guzman, Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, Commissioner Victor Berrera, and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32), along with many veterans and community members.

“In times like these, it is that spirit to fight for freedom, to fight for your values as American that has gotten us through this very difficult time,” Rodriguez said.

He thanked the assembled veterans for their service and other veterans and led the crowd in a round of applause for them.

“I know we’re all a little disappointed that we didn’t get better weather, but this day is not about hot dogs and barbecues. It’s really about giving thanks and appreciating those individuals … who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us,” Rodriguez added.

Hector Maisonave, who fought in the Korean War as part of a battalion from Puerto Rico, was honored and it was noted a street in town is named after him.

Town Historian Patrick Cullen, another veteran, noted the World War I memorial where they were assembled was created during the Great Depression by the Works Progress America (WPA) program during the Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential term.

The names of the nine Vietnam War veterans from West New York were then read, as were the names on the monument.