HAMILTON: Patriotic Debut

The timing couldn’t be better for the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to the U.S. Marine Corps.

by James McEvoy, Managing Editor
HAMILTON — The timing couldn’t be better for the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to the U.S. Marine Corps.
   Township officials, members of the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee and other dignitaries were joined by hundreds of residents, many of them veterans, for an unveiling ceremony Nov. 9 – just a day before the corps’ 238th birthday and two days before Veterans Day.
   The ceremony, which featured the Marine Corps League, Nam Knights of America and the third battalion of the 14th Marine Regiment, took place at the Kuser Road entrance of Veterans Park.
   The memorial includes a stone depiction of the iconic image of five U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman raising the flag on Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
   A brick path leads to the monument, which also consists of plaques on each side of the stone.
   The festivities began with a call to and presentation of colors as well as a rendition of the national anthem by the Steinert High School Select Choir under the direction of Richard Schneider.
   Retired Army Col. Frank S. Caprario, president of the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee, Mayor Kelly A. Yaede and Lt. Col. Matthew Nation, inspector-instructor of the third battalion of the 14th Marine Regiment, gave remarks.
   Mr. Caprario said he was pleased that the project was done without the use of township money.
   ”We started this project two years ago and I’m proud to say, as with all our other projects, this was no charge to the township,” he said.
   In May, members of the patriotic committee estimated the cost of the monument of $22,000, which did not include the materials donated. Without the donated materials, the cost would have approached $40,000.
   Mr. Caprario, who has served the committee for 17 years, said his time on the committee, have been among the happiest in his life.
   ”I have not regretted one single year because with the mayor we organized the patriotic committee and, believe me, I have never been part of a more enthusiastic, hardworking group,” he said.
   Mayor Yaede thanked active military servicemen and women as well as veterans throughout her remarks.
   ”You are Hamilton Township’s true heroes and we thank you,” the mayor said. “Today we honor of the branch that live by the motto “Semper Fi” or “Always faithful.’
   ”Today we honor the branch that is the first in the fight whether in the air, on land or at sea,” she added. “Time and time again the United States Marine Corps has answered the call to duty in each of their missions, braved the most difficult environments that the world had to offer and won some of the toughest fights that made the important differences in the conflicts that have shaped the world we know today.”
   Lt. Col. Nation, a native of Natick, Massachusetts, said though the festivities largely focused on the U.S. Marine Corps, he wanted to acknowledge his brothers and sisters in the other military branches.
   ”Whether it’s in war or peace there’s a common bond amongst all of us,” he said, adding he could tell Hamilton boasted a patriotic support of servicemen and women.
   He also noted how those who have sacrificed will not be forgotten.
   ”As we transition from 12 years of combat, our Marine Corps and our nation has lost many fine young men and women,” he said. “Those names are forever woven into our history.”
   Like Mayor Yaede, Lt. Col. Nation discussed the iconic image captured at on Mount Suribachi nearly 70 years ago.
   ” That photo sums up our Marine Corps, your Marine Corps — young Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life who came together to fight our nation’s battles in that sense of selflessness to protect each other.
   ”All those battles were fought with pride and devotion,” he added. “This memorial is for all generations of warriors past, present and those in the future who will follow in our footsteps.
   The U.S. Marine Corps memorial joins dedications to other branches of the U.S. military including a U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom II fighter jet, a M60A3 battle tank, an AH-1F Cobra helicopter, a three-inch cannon from World War I and a Naval wall.
   Previously, Col. Caprario has said a memorial dedicated to the U.S. Coast Guard is next on the agenda for the committee. The memorial could incorporate a bell or a buoy.