By Kassie Parisi
HALFMOON— Over the weekend, the town unveiled its much-anticipated Veterans Memorial.
Dozens of people gathered in the Halfmoon Town Park on Sept. 23 to pay their respects to veterans of the past, present, and future. The memorial has been in the works for months, and on Saturday afternoon, politicians and constituents came together to express their gratitude to those who had served in the military.
The ceremony included remarks from New York State Senator Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, and New York State Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, who both brought citations from their respective houses to acknowledge the town’s efforts in creating the memorial.
The memorial itself contains a walkway that consists of many bricks that are inscribed with veteran information. The bricks were purchased by loved ones prior to being laid in the walkway.
Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen said at the ceremony that, since he took office, one of his top priorities has been to create a space that would honor local veterans.
“Since becoming Town Supervisor, having a special place to honor our veterans has been a top priority for me and the Town Board. To have a place set aside for individuals to come, to remember the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served to protect our freedom and our way of life,” he said. “A place for people of all ages, of all nationalities, of all different types of religions, to go at any time to remember a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger.”
The memorial walkway currently consists of 1,493 bricks. Over 200 bricks are engraved and currently are included in the walkway, and Tollisen confirmed that more are on the way.
To go along with the physical walkway, the town has set up a website that contains a biography about all of the veterans who have their names on bricks in the walkway.
The second phase of the memorial will include granite seating, a POW memorial, and a five sided statue in the middle to commemorate the five branches of the armed forces. The total cost of the project is approximately $325,000, paid for in cash.
Tollisen explained that earlier in the week, he had met a Vietnam veteran who didn’t have a brick with his name on it in the walkway, and had refused when a friend offered to buy him a brick. Tollisen said that the walkway is not only meant to honor those who have their names on bricks, but also to honor all veterans for their service, even those who want to stay anonymous.
“Even though this man doesn’t have a brick here today, this memorial is for him,” Tollisen said. “From the Town of Halfmoon to say thank you, we are proud of you, and we’re proud of your service. This is a place for all veterans.”