Upper Penns Neck Vietnam Memorial

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Memorial for the fallen from Upper Penns Neck in Salem County, NJ.

To the Upper Penns Neck Community

A short time ago a small group came together with the idea for a memorial for the young men from Penns Grove High who lost their lives while serving our country in the Vietnam conflict. From a population perspective, our small area lost a far greater percentage of men than most other New Jersey towns. These young men were our friends, neighbors, relatives and classmates. Their names are included at the end of this note. Mike Devonshire presented several schemes from which the final design was chosen. This was presented to the local VFW and the PG/CP School Board, both of whom enthusiastically endorsed the project. The memorial placement will be adjacent to the existing monument located at the SW corner of the “old” high school lawn. A description of the piece is in the attached material. The Penns Grove Alumni Association has agreed to help with the fundraising efforts needed to bring this dream to fruition. The cost for fabrication and delivery of the monument is approximately $17,000. Local contractors have expressed interest in donating services to install it; the high school will provide maintenance of the surrounding grounds. We are making this request for contributions in hopes that local businesses and individuals will join the classmates, friends and families of these young men in contributing to this worthy effort. Any amount will be greatly appreciated, of course, by our town, the families of the fallen, and by those who “came back”. Contributions for the Vietnam Memorial should be made out to: Penns Grove HS Alumni Association Vietnam Memorial and mailed to: Grace Cannavo, PGHS, 334 Harding Highway, Carneys Point, NJ 08069 You’ll receive an “official” receipt for tax purposes and we’ll also make a copy of each check for bookkeeping purposes. The families and friends of these men offer thanks for the generosity of those who help to make this long-overdue gesture happen. If there is anyone who you might think should also receive this message please pass it along.

The Fallen:

Larry Bowen, John Cheeks, Robert Ferrelli, Michael Jennings, Henry Hocknell, Roy Jones, Robert Layton, Tom Rogers, Alton Thomas, Gerald Thompson, Charles Wetzel

  The monolithic form of the stone monument represents the unity of the brothers-in-arms, united in a single shrine that resembles the traditional Roman funerary stele which used to memorialize notable citizens in classical antiquity. The stone, like the young men, emerges from crude rock not fully transformed, and is only partially formed at the upper portion, as the yet unrefined young men. The conversion of the upper portion of the stone has become more refined, as reflected in the tooling of the stone surface which symbolizes the molding into manhood, before it is prematurely cut off – cut short in its yet unfinished state as with the swing of a sword. The “cut” surface is polished, finished to accept the names of the fallen. The monument is fabricated of Stony Creek granite from Connecticut, a striking stone with a matrix containing diverse aggregate particles of white quartz, black granite, and rose quartz, emblematic of the diversity of the young men and the blood which they have shed. The names of those deceased are engraved in the polished surface of the “cut” surface of the monument. The enduring nature of the granite reflects and is emblematic of the unrealized potential of each of the young men.”

. . . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . .. . . Penns Grove