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Designs Revealed for Long-Awaited Memorial to Vietnam War Veterans

By Katie Honan | June 9, 2017 4:17pm | Updated on June 12, 2017 8:42am
 The schematic plan for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Elmhurst Park.
The schematic plan for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Elmhurst Park.
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Parks Department

ELMHURST — Officials revealed the design for the borough's memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War, which veterans groups have worked on for more than a decade. 

Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver joined elected officials to celebrate the design, which was fully funded last year. 

The plans come after more than a decade of activism from the borough's chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, who pushed for a memorial to be included at Elmhurst Park, at 57th and Grand avenues, when it was first announced in 2008.

Melinda Katz, who was then a city councilwoman, had even set aside money for the project before it was shelved, officials said. 

Last year, as borough president, Katz announced the project was completely funded with the help of her office and the city council.

"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," she said in 2016. 

"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 memorial was a dream of Pat Toro, the former president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32. He died in 2014, before he could see it come to fruition.

“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," current president Michael O’Kane said, adding that the design "does justice" to the sacrifice of his fellow veterans. 

The circular monument includes a bench and trees as a living monument. The names of the 420 Queens residents who died during the war will be etched in the memorial.

Inside the oval there will be a granite map of Vietnam with key locations highlighted.

Renderings of the proposed memorial. (Parks Department)

Councilman Danny Dromm also contributed to the construction, saying the veterans "deserve to be honored and remembered for their sacrifices."

Funds were also contributed from Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, highlighted the importance of honoring veterans in neighborhood spaces.

“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," she said.