September 15, 2008

Hanover to unveil veterans memorial

Names span those of soldiers from Revolutionary War to Iraq

By Jake Remaly
Daily Record

HANOVER -- A 4-ton veterans memorial carved from imported black marble is being kept tightly covered until it is scheduled to be unveiled on Saturday in a ceremony at the entrance of the municipal building .

It is the first township memorial with a comprehensive list of soldiers from Hanover who died in wartime defending the U.S. starting with the American Revolution.

The memorial also honors all Hanover residents who served in the armed forces. The three-panel wall is 5 1/2 feet tall by 8 feet wide and was carved from black marble from Africa.

The last of the 19 names on it now is Christopher B. Cosgrove III. Cosgrove was a Marine lance corporal and Cedar Knolls resident killed in Iraq by a bomb two years ago. He died on Oct. 1, 2006, at the age of 23.

"I wish my son's name wasn't on any of these things," his mom, Charlene Cosgrove-Bowie, said. "I wish he was home. But I'm proud, and I know he's proud, that he's being remembered."

Joseph Morris, the first name, died in the Revolutionary War in 1777.

The memorial cost some $22,000, raised entirely through private donations. It is the product of more than a year of work by the eight-member Hanover Township Veterans Alliance Memorial Committee, which is comprised of veterans and is chaired by Pete Gallo. It was designed by Whippany resident and memorial committee member Thomas Miller.

"It's a simple, clean, nice looking piece," Miller said.

"I think the location is perfect," Cosgrove-Bowie said. "When people go to the library or go to the municipal building, they can't miss it because it's gigantic."

"It will make them think about the sacrifices that were made by those protecting the country," she said.

Cosgrove-Bowie and her husband, Arthur Bowie, Christopher Cosgrove's stepfather, provided some of the initial seed money for the project along with local veterans organizations when they heard about the plan. When the fundraising effort was complete, some 35 corporate donors and more than 60 individual donors had contributed, as did companies that supplied landscaping services and brick pavers at no cost.

"Anything that pays respect to the men who live their lives to protect this country is a good thing," said Arthur Bowie, an Air Force veteran. He said he calls Christopher Cosgrove his son and knew him since he was 3.

"I think it will be nice for all the veterans to have this in the town," Bowie said. "It's accessible. Everybody will see it that goes to the town hall."

Alice Slattery, whose son Robert J. Slattery died in Vietnam in 1967 at the age of 20 and who is listed on the memorial, said she has not yet seen it, but thinks it's good the veterans are being recognized. She also gave a donation for the memorial.

"It's like going to a cemetery and quietly reflecting on your loved one and all the people that died for Hanover Township," she said.

The idea was first presented by Joseph Mihalko and Stephen Bolcar before the 2007 Memorial Day parade at a joint meeting of the Veterans Alliance and the Hanover Township Memorial Day Committee.

Mihalko said stone monuments with bronze plaques exist for certain segments of servicemen and women and for certain wars around town.

"We wanted to bring it to a central focus point," he said.

He researched the people to be listed on the memorial. One Hanover resident traditionally recognized as serving in the American Revolution was taken off the list. For years, John Troop had been named a Revolutionary War veteran at the township's annual Memorial Day ceremony.

And while that turned out to be true, Mihalko discovered Troop was fighting for the wrong side.

"I found that this guy was a major for the king's army," Mihalko said.

The stories of other Hanover veterans who died in wartime moved him.

"In researching, you run across something that gives you goose bumps and tingles," he said. "How meaningful the sacrifice is that other families have made. How meaningful it became to our town."

The memorial names two soldiers each from the Revolutionary War and Civil War, 12 from World War II, and one each from Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Mihalko said the committee is considering publishing a book with information about the Hanover veterans.