RAHWAY—The “Broken Hearts Memorial-A Living Tribute To Our Fallen Heroes” honoring those killed in Iraq and the families they left behind will be formally dedicated at the Rahway Train Station Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m.
“We are very excited about honoring our troops as well as making the memorial part of the fabric of our revitalized downtown,” said Mayor James Kennedy. The dedication ceremony will be highlighted by the opening of the memorial for public participation, led by the family of NJ fallen soldier Cpl. Luigi Marciante Jr., who was killed in Iraq in September 2007.
The Broken Hearts Memorial is the brainchild of Jim McKeon, founder of The Rahway Art Hive Studio and Co-Op Gallery. “The idea was just to raise awareness of the tremendous sacrifice made by so many families in America,” says McKeon.
Since then, he has teamed up with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in New York City to try to raise money as well. By trying to have all 4,318 hearts that he plans on painting on the memorial pledged for, the artist hopes to raise over $43,000 for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Md., a new state of the art medical and research center for returning soldiers and their families.
The vision for the Broken Hearts Memorial came to McKeon one day during a conversation about iconic tattoo symbols with a friend who had a son in Iraq.
It started out as a small idea to paint one broken heart with the word MOM on a canvas and grew into a 36 foot free standing wall that will hold over 4,318 hearts and counting and will not officially end until all our troops are safely out of Iraq.
The memorial is located at the Rahway Train Station Plaza and consists of 19 inter-locking, double-sided panels, each side with a life-size silhouette of a soldier painted on it. In the plaza, the artist will begin to paint a broken heart with the word MOM for every soldier who has been killed in Iraq. The artist’s goal is to be constantly interacting with the public while working on it and encouraging participation. All the hearts the same. Yet each one special in that there is one for every individual family in America that has made the ultimate sacrifice.
On September 12, those in attendance at the dedication will be invited by the artist to participate by painting one of the broken hearts on the memorial. After the opening date, the artist will accept public participation on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting, and by appointment. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.)
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