“We were faced with a terror that was unbelievable”
What happens when the money backing a war memorial dries up? The doors shut, tourists and veterans are turned away, and the memorabilia and plaques inside languish under a layer of dust.
This is exactly what has happened to the Brooklyn War Memorial.
The Memorial, built 64 years ago, has never been accessible to the general public, which means that only a few people have ever been able to stand before the 11,000 names etched into its inside walls, representing Brooklynites who died fighting in World War II. According to a GoFundMe page set up by the Cadman Park Conservancy, the memorial is in need of a serious overhaul; new stone work, new roof, new electric, new plumbing, new glass, insulation, and a handicapped accessible ramp, bathrooms, and elevator are all needed before the site can be completely opened to visitors.
Getting the site up to speed is going to be an enormous undertaking—but a devoted group of veterans and supporters are determined to make that dream a reality. Yesterday, the surrounding community rallied at the memorial to honor the fallen and kick off the restoration effort:
“(How much does this mean to you?) Unbelievable,” said Max Nemerovsky, a WWII veteran from Bensonhurst.
“It’s great to think people are still thinking of World War II,” said David Epstein, a WWII veteran from Bergen Beach.
“I was the one who was honored to serve,” said WWII veteran David Kaplan, of Brooklyn Heights.
Kaplan, 95, served in the Army at 22, stationed in the Pacific and Philippines, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported.
“We were faced with a terror that was unbelievable, the threat of Nazism among others,” he said.
And Sunday’s event went beyond remembrance. The goal now, is to reopen and completely restore the Brooklyn War Memorial, which is currently not handicapped accessible.
“To open this and make it ADA accessible so people can actually see it,” said Laurel Brown, with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
Fox and Friends aired a story about the four Vanasco brothers, who all fought in World War II, and who are also fighting to get the memorial up and running again:
This is just a story of a local war memorial; there’s no Congressional angle or sequestration drama here—but then again, that’s the point.
Memorial Day is about the fallen warriors from our hometowns. It’s about honoring their bravery and their sacrifice, and giving their brothers in arms a chance to do the same. It’s not about the buildings and the statues, but at the same time, the buildings and the statues are important because they remind us that the war didn’t just happen 4000 miles away.
It’s the homefront’s duty to remember.DONATE
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