War Memorial for Veterans in Belleville, NJ

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

I was out on a bike ride today and happened upon this war memorial in Belleville, NJ, on Union Avenue near Overlook Avenue. It's a small park and was a surprise to me, so I parked my bike to take a look around.

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At the center of the park is a small pool and a 3-column and engraved marble structure which is inscribed at the top with "To The Memory of Those Who Served." The left side of this main marble structure is inscribed "Lest We Forget," with names of over 150 people from Belleville who were lost in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and finally, at the very bottom, "Lost on 9/11 Attack."

War Memorial on Union Avenue in Belleville, NJ

Flanking both sides of this central memorial are two sculptures. To the right is this memorial (pictured below) to Private First Class Henry Svehla from the United States Army, for his Medal of Honor which was awarded posthumously for his actions in the Korean War. On June 12th, 1952, Svehla and his platoon came under attack, and when a grenade landed in the middle of his group, he smothered the blast with his body in order to protect his fellow soldiers, sacrificing himself to save those around him. You can learn more about Private First Class Henry Svehla and his heroic action here.

War Memorial for Henry Svehla in Belleville, NJ

Korean War Memorial for Private First Class Henry Svehla in Belleville, NJ

On the left side is this interesting bronze sculpture by artist Javid Zarabi, featuring what appears to be a version of "Lady Liberty" (holding a document with the word "We" at the top, as in "We The People ...?"), who is laying her sword upon the right shoulder of a kneeling soldier. I'm trying to find information on Javid Zarabi, but the most I can find is that he is (was?) of Iranian descent and created this sculpture for the Belleville-Nutley Chapter of Disabled American Veterans in 1979, and the sculpture was moved to this location sometime around 2005.

Sculpture at a War Memorial in Belleville, NJ

Lady Liberty and Kneeling Soldier Sculpture at War Memorial in Belleville, NJ

It's always a nice surprise to happen upon an unexpected location that features both art and history ... it's one of the reasons for The Arts Adventurer series, which showcases both art and adventures found while out exploring new locations.

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