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Friday, November 1, 2002

County to Dedicate Salvaged Veteran Memorial Plaques

County Executive Dennis Levinson invites members of the public to a dedication of Bronze Memorial Plaques honoring Atlantic City veterans killed in battle that were salvaged by the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 10, Atlantic City. The brief ceremony will take place on Friday, November 8 at 11:00 AM, Veterans Cemetery, Atlantic County Park, Route 50, Estell Manor.

"Each one of these plaques is symbolic of the life of an Atlantic City resident who was killed while serving his country," Levinson said. "They were found piled in a box in the basement of a building scheduled for demolition. It was my feeling that these plaques represented more than just the memory of an individual. Treating them with disrespect was an injustice and made a sad statement about the regard we have for our veterans. When Sam Haspel, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, brought this to my attention I wanted to correct that situation. I ordered that they be put on display at our Veterans Cemetery where they would be given the care and dignity they deserved."

Each plaque contains the name of an Atlantic City resident killed in World War I, World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. Originally they were placed in front of a tree in the Albany Avenue Park in Atlantic City that was dedicated to the memory of the individual. In the 1970s the plaques were removed and the names of the fallen were engraved in a marble monument located in the park. The plaques were then made available to family members who wanted them.

"What I find poignant about these particular 122 plaques is that they went unclaimed when the city dedicated the new memorial. Their family members may have been deceased, moved from the area or were unaware they were available," Levinson said. "While the families of the other soldiers ensured that the plaques of their loved ones were given a place of respect, these were left piled in a heap. I, along with some local veterans groups, felt that was wrong and wanted to do something about it."

For more information contact Howard J. Kyle, Chief of Staff, at 343-2368.

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