Senator Louis Kosco (R-38)wrote the enabling legislation for the Memorial in 1996, appropriating the initial seed money of $25,000,which established the New Jersey Korean War Memorial Committee.Atlantic City's Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority (CRDA)contributed $1 million toward the $3 million project.The Korean War Memorial fund is still accepting corporate and private donations to cover the remaining costs associated with construction.
Sculptors J.Tom Carillo of Denver and Thomas Jay Warren of Sugar Grove,N.C.,were selected by the Committee in 1998 to work on the Memorial, which features a 12-foot high statue of "The Mourning Soldier" clutching dogtags and remembering his lost comrades. A group of soldiers "under fire" emerges through a sheet of water just to his left. The back wall of the Memorial, beneath an eternal flame, is engraved with the names of the 822 New Jerseyans who were killed or are still listed as missing in action.
Then Governor Christine Todd Whitman attended the dedication and laid a wreath honoring the 191,000 New Jerseyans who served in the conflict. "May this memorial forever stand both as a tribute to those who fought for freedom in Korea and as an enduring symbol of New Jerseyans' deep appreciation for the selfless,patriotic service of all our country's veterans," stated Gov.Christie Whitman.
Executive Director of the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War,Maj.Gen. (Ret)Nels Running presented Gov. Whitman with a 50th Commemorative coin and certificate to symbolize New Jersey ' recognition as an official "Commemorative Community." Maj.Gen.Paul J.Glazar,The Adjutant General of the State of New Jersey said, "With this very beautiful and special permanent tribute,the veterans of the Forgotten War will be forgotten no more."
Members of the Korean Community dressed in traditional garb sounded a ceremonial gong as the New Jersey Army National Guard followed with a nine-gun rifle salute.The ceremony concluded with a flyover of four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 177th Fighter Wing,New Jersey Air National Guard. Bally's Park Place hotel and casino hosted a reception immediately following the ceremony.
"The generosity and continued support from the CRDA,members of the New Jersey Legislature,Governor Whitman,Veterans' Organizations, corporate donors and so many individuals have truly made this important day a reality," stated Committee Chairman Larry St.Laurent. "Finally the courage and sacrifice of so many will forever stand tall in our community."