On August 7, 2014 Chapter 27 celebrated National Purple Heart Day along withe the announcement that Hillsborough Township NJ has been proclaimed a Purple Heart Community.
The 2nd Annual Purple Heart Day Ceremony was held in The Garden of Honor adjacent to the Municipal Building in Hillsborough Township New Jersey.
On August 7th, 2012, Chapter 27 dedicated a plaque that was donated by the Chaper to Hillsborough Township. The plaque was placed in the already existing Garden of Honor. Use the link below to see the full story as it appeared in the Hillsborough Patch.
The following article appeared in the Star Ledger on 7/2/2006. It's written by Paola Loriggo.
Fred Millet's Army hat is covered in pins and badges. Some are marks of rank, like the 79th Infantry Division, 5th Ranger Battalion crest emblazoned across the front. But the majority are mementos from war memorials and monuments the 86-year-old World War II veteran has visited over the years.
Millet, who lives in South Bound Brook, has traveled to memorial sites states away. He recently experienced one of his shortest trips: roughly six miles, the distance between his home and the new Somerset County Veterans Memorial Plaza in Somerville, which officially opened on Thursday.
"The Washington, D.C., memorial is a massive circle with all the states," Millet said, comparing it to the plaza's 55-foot circular court, which holds a flag for each of the armed forces' five branches. "But this, this is special to Somerset County. This is wonderful."
The 22,000-square-foot plaza is cradled between the town's administration building and municipal court, on the site of the former Somerville Armory. It features a monument to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a distinction offered to those who have shed blood in battle. The goal: to recognize the sacrifices made by the county's roughly 21,000 veterans.
"When this nation called, you answered, leaving home, hearth and loved ones," said Gary Englert, director of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' Division of Veteran Services. "As a D-Day veteran, your mark on history will endure through the ages."
Millet, who sat close to the stage, stood at attention with his fellow veterans while a medley of patriotic songs rang out in the plaza, each one representing a different unit of the armed forces.
Commander Frank Bubb Jr. of the Sgt. H.J. Kupper-Chapter 27 of the Purple Heart thanked the county freeholders for their support and said the county was a great place for veterans. He added, "It's the numerous veterans who live in Somerset County who make Somerset County a great place to live."
A few years ago, members of Chapter 27 approached the freeholders with a proposal for the monument, not knowing that the location had been considered for a park in the early '90s.
"When the Purple Heart group approached us, we realized, 'Wow, what a perfect opportunity to combine the park concept with a memorial to all Somerset County veterans,'" including recipients of the Purple Heart, said Freeholder Rick Fontana during the dedication ceremony, which drew a crowd of more than 120.
The plaza took more than 10 years to plan, but only a few months to build: The town held a groundbreaking ceremony last fall and unveiled the memorial just in time for Independence Day.
"It was like planning a wedding for six families," Fontana said of the planning process. As the project's liaison, Fontana wanted to make sure no group would feel offended or left out, he said.
The plaza was designed so that monuments to other groups could later be added, the Freeholder said.
During the ceremony, Fontana stressed the monument was a tribute to all veterans, "including those who served on the home front as well as those who were deployed overseas." He asked that Iraq veterans in the crowd stand up, to thunderous applause from the crowd.
Ashley Ganey, 26, was one of two Iraq veterans at the ceremony. Ganey, who volunteered to return to Iraq next April, said the recognition made him feel good. For that reason, the soldier, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division and now recruits for the Army, tries to attend as many veterans events as possible, he said.
David L. Coleman, 73, of the Order of the Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 8371 said he never realized how expansive the plaza would be, though he often drove by the construction site.
The plaza was built by the Hillsborough-based Flanagan's Contracting Group, which obtained the $1,019,670 contract last summer. The project was partly financed by funds left over from the construction of the administration building in 1992.
"They do monuments and memorials nationally -- why not in Somerset County?" Coleman said. "I think it speaks for the patriotism of the citizens of the county."
The following article appeared in the Courier News on 6/25/2006The Somerset County Board of Freeholders will hold a dedication ceremony noon June 29 for the veterans memorial plaza on Grove Street, Somerville. The new 200-foot-long plaza is next to the Somerset County Administration Building.
Its circular formation near Grove Street features flags from each of the five branches of the armed services, plus a flag for the World War II Merchant Marine veterans. It also has a stage area at the opposite end for presentations and public ceremonies.
The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremony. Members of local veterans organizations, officials from the 21 towns, local legislators and military personnel have been invited. Free parking is available in the Bernie Field Parking Deck off East High Street behind the plaza.
For more information, contact the Somerset County Public Information Office at (908) 231-7020 or the Veterans Services Division at (908) 704-6357.
The following article appeared in The Reporter on 5/11/2006
SOMERVILLE - Tomorrow is the 38-year anniversary of the end of combat for Ted Dima, a Vietnam War veteran and junior vice commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 27.
"I was hit by a mortar round. We were supporting a Special Forces camp outside Kham Duc, a Vietnamese village. Basically it was overrun by North Vietnamese regulars," said Dima, who suffered extensive shrapnel damage while serving with the Army's 196th Light Infantry Brigade.
On Tuesday, Dima checked up on the progress of work going on at Veterans' Memorial Plaza, where a Purple Heart monument of engraved red granite - 5 feet by 4 feet by 18 inches - will be one of many permanent tributes to men and women from Somerset County who served this country in times of war and peace.
"This is more than we hoped for," said Dima, as workers from Hillsborough-based Flanagan's Contracting Inc. moved closer to installing nearly 11,000 square feet of concrete pavers at the quarter-acre site between the county administration building and county jail on Grove Street.
"It's going to be nice to have someplace where you can look on the monument and reflect on family members who were not so lucky," he said.
While Veterans' Memorial Plaza was originally scheduled to be completed in time for Memorial Day, May 29, Richard Close, design specialist with the county's engineering division, said it will likely take up to a couple of weeks more past Memorial Day. He said the $1 million county-funded project, which broke ground last September, will probably be 95 percent complete by the holiday.
The plaza also includes bricks and plaques from the former National Guard armory that was located at the site before being torn down in 1999. The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders had originally planned to build a general purpose-type plaza at the site before the Military Order of the Purple Heart approached county officials three years ago with the idea of making it a special place for all veterans.
When complete, five flagpoles positioned in a circle will fly the flags of the five branches of the military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Another pole at the edge of the plaza's main area will raise the Merchant Marine flag, and the U.S., state and county flags will wave from the entrance.
A yet undetermined number of military monuments, including one for Disabled American Veterans, will outline the plaza.
Close said the rest of the property will be landscaped with a variety of trees, including maples, dogwoods, and cherries, as well as rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs.
There will be benches, and a lower level area includes a stage for ceremonies, public events and small concerts.
"It's large enough for ceremonies, but intimate enough for an individual or family to come out and commemorate what a friend or family member did," Close said.
Dima said he is pleased that the plaza will be open to the public in time for some of the older veterans to see.
"A lot of World War II veterans have passed since the start of this," he said. "The ones that are left will feel good about seeing this completed."
The following article appeared in the Courier News on 8/5/2005.
SOMERVILLE -- Construction on the proposed Veterans' Memorial Plaza, between the Somerset County administration building and county jail on Grove Street, will start by Labor Day.County freeholders are set to award a $1,019,670 construction contract to Flanagan's Contracting Group of Hillsborough at Thursday's meeting for construction of Veterans' Memorial Plaza.
Pending approval of the contract, plans call for ground to be broken for the project on Labor Day, said Michael Amorosa, county engineer.
"The end goal is to dedicate it by Memorial Day 2006," Amorosa said.
Members of Chapter 27 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart met with the county freeholder board last year about building the plaza. A park was originally planned for the site -- which housed an armory -- when the new county administration building was constructed in 1990.
The former county National Guard armory was used as an emergency communications center; after that moved, the building was demolished in 1999.
During the past year, Richard Close and other county engineers have designed a plaza for the 60-foot-by-120-foot vacant lot with a grassy knoll.
The design features:
* Veterans' monuments placed around a 50- to 60-foot circle with an embossed star in the center. In the center of the star will be flags representing each of the five armed services branches.
* Space around the perimeter for benches and for veterans groups to place monuments. Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Merchant Marine have submitted requests for monuments.
* Two stone medallions from the old armory will be placed in a brick monument between the veterans' plaza. There will be an open area for public gatherings.
* Plans call for a stage to be built in the rear of the plaza, with a large open space planned for the area between the veterans memorial and the stage.
Larry Higgs can be reached at (908) 707-3134 or email@example.com.