Freedom is not free. Sometimes, it comes at a very high cost.
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The park dates back to the 19th century. In 1938
the City of Camden erected Veterans Memorial Middle School, and monument
was erected after World War II.
THE GLORY OF GOD
IN EVERLASTING TRIBUTE
TO THOSE WHO SERVED IN WORLD WAR II 1941-45
This monument was erected in 1887 as a memorial to William Clisham, an Irish immigrant who was a prominent citizen in the area. The school was built in 1938, and a monument was erected after WWII. In 1999 the VFW had the original Clisham monument restored and re-engraved with the message visible above. Unfortunately, the city has done little if anything to maintain these monuments.
|CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPHS FOR ENLARGED AND ENHANCED VIEWS|
The two photos of the cannon in Vets Park: Looking at the one on the left, facing the school, I remember there had been a sidewalk that ran from the circle and monument in the center of the park, down to 26th St. It would have been between the cannon and that large tree, in the left hand photo. On each side of the sidewalk, spaced about 2 feet apart, were small bronze plaques mounted on stone blocks. Each one had the name, rank, service, and date killed, for veterans killed in WWII. In addition, on each side, just down from the circle (near the cannon and tree), were two larger bronze plaques, about 3 ft X 4 ft. They commemorated either men or units from WWII, but I can't recall the lettering. If you look at the right hand photo of the cannon (with the Church in the background), you can see the spot where one of the large plaques had been situated.
It is really a shame how the city and school board have let this park
go down. I remember when I was a kid, Erv Stiffel
ran a florist shop on 27th
Street between the gas station in
front of Vets (where 26th street and 27th
Street came to a
"point") and Wells' soda shop at the corner of 27th and
Hayes. He had been in the Marines and fought in the South
Pacific. He always made sure there were flowers at the white
WWII monument on the corner of 27th and
Arthur (across from
Roedel's Funeral Parlor) and also made sure it was cleaned up. I
recall he was in the Courier Post a number of years ago complaining
about the City and School Board not cleaning up the graffiti off
the monument. I guess he is gone now, as are most of that
"greatest generation", but I still recall his strong
commitment to veterans.
As an aside, if you look at the photo of that white monument at the corner of 27th and Arthur, you will see a two story house in the background, on the left. That was my house, at the corner of 25th and Arthur. It had been in our family back to the early 1920's, and was still there the last time I checked.
Six men from Camden NJ, Frank Ballerino, Michael Carr, Michael Yachus, Stephen V. Koscianski, Lewis Riondino, and Joseph H. Johnson died together when the troop transport HMTS Rohna was struck by a German guided glider bomb and sank of the coast of North Africa. In addition, six other Camden County men, Jacob K. Jenkins and Carl Johanson of Pennsauken, 19 year-old Harry V. Taylor Jr. of Haddonfield, William McKeon of Blackwood, Merl Reagle of Lindenwold, and Elmer F. Day of Merchantville and also were lost that day. Many other South Jersey men also were killed. In total, 1,015 men were lost, but the story was never told to the families or the general public for over 57 years due to wartime censorship.
Coverage - Tom Brokaw
Click links to visit web-pages on these memorials, and to visit "virtual memorials" to Camden County's fallen heroes.
GUEST BOOK & E-MAIL
of this date, February 6, 2002 I have not erected a guest-book. Please
e-mail all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like your comment published in the upcoming guest-book,
please let me know.-
Phil Cohen, Camden NJ