RAHWAY—In Rahway, New Jersey, hundreds of people showed up to dedicate the Broken Hearts Memorial, A Living Tribute To Our Fallen Heroes despite the grey skies and threat of rain.
The memorial is the work of artist Jim McKeon and the idea is to paint a broken heart with the word MOM on it for every soldier that has lost his or her life in Iraq.
There were several speakers at the dedication on behalf of the city including Mayor James Kennedy, keynote speaker, business administrator Peter Pelissier, a marine captain from the Vietnam War, as well as Accurrsio Marciante, whose brother was killed in action in Iraq on Sept. 20, 2007.
The bag pipers were in full swing, the ROTC showed off their skills and the band Shaylor Alley kept the crowd entertained. But all would agree, the ceremony was highlighted by the attendance of 12 gold star families and their participation in the project.
The families officially opened the memorial by painting a broken heart in honor of their loved ones. At the end of the day, over 200 hearts were painted with the help of several volunteers who assisted the crowd. The participants, from the youngest to the oldest, were united in their desire to pay tribute to our brave troops. The event also raised over $12,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund by encouraging people to pledge hearts for $10.
The memorial currently has 4,343 hearts stenciled on the panels, one for each soldier and his family, and McKeon hopes to get them all painted over the next two months. The project is open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., weather permitting. Anyone who would like to paint a heart on the memorial will be allowed to do so. Painting is free. Appointments can also be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.brokenheartsmemorial.org.
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