Push on to complete World War II memorial
By Tom Baldwin • GANNETT STATE BUREAU
Published: November 04, 2008
Asbury Park Press
TRENTON — Workers in hard hats initialed and then hoisted the "Lady Victory" statue Monday, launching the final push to open New Jersey's long-delayed World War II Memorial by Nov. 11 — Veterans' Day.
"It is for the heroic actions of all who served," said Jack McGreevey, a former Marine Corps drill instructor, father of a former governor and chairman of the commission that advanced the idea of the memorial.
Lady Victory is a 12-foot-high, almost-two-ton bronze sculpture by Oregon artist Thomas Jay Warren, a former resident of Hamilton, Mercer County. He supervised the job Monday with his longtime friend and colleague, Lambertville resident Harry Gordon.
The statue is that of a woman raising an olive wreath in her right hand while in her left she wields a sword — inscribed with "New Jersey" on the blade. Trampled beneath her bare toes are the swastika of Nazi Germany and Japan's red, rising-sun World War II banner. "We had to make some compromises, and not always over money," said Stephen Abel, deputy commissioner in the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and a retired Army colonel.
Artist Jay Warren, kneeling right, watches as a bronze statue, Lady Victory, is raised into place Monday, Nov. 3, 2008, at the World War II Memorial being built in Trenton, N.J. The memorial is set to be dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
He told how the second of three statues to be erected on the memorial grounds is titled the "Lone Soldier" and shows a warrior in uniform of questionable pedigree. A sidearm is from one service but the uniform parts are from another. The helmet is from the Marines but the rifle — a carbine — says Army.
"It's a mix," Abel said. "We agreed to do it that way, to include all the services there."
The third statue is titled "Battlefield Marker" and consists of a rifle stuck into the ground with a helmet balanced on the top end — the symbol of a battlefield death.
The workers signed the underside of the work before a crane lifted it into place in a once-leafy square directly across West State Street from the front of the Statehouse.
It was not smooth going, though, as workers spent the day trying to close a small gap where the base of the statue met the polished-stone altar.
On Veterans' Day, the state plans to dedicate the memorial. The project lagged after fund-raising fell short as World War II veterans died off. The plan had been to dedicate the monument on Memorial Day of 2006.
"Gov. Jon Corzine is to be applauded," said McGreevey, father of former Gov. James E. McGreevey. "He got this thing on track."
Warren statues are at New Jersey's Korean War Memorial in Atlantic City and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel.
Warren has a work at Rutgers University, celebrating college football's first game against Princeton University in 1869, a marble relief at the spot George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas in 1776 before the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and elsewhere in the state.
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