Remembering “The Solider" as we Honor our Veterans
Journeys into River Edge
In the midst of all the tumult and uncertainty, some of us will take a pause to pay homage.
As part of the Veterans Day observance, many of us will recall the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II.
And locally, this month also marks 50 years since the unveiling of “The Soldier”, the sculpture that occupies center stage in Memorial Park.
The work by Charles Vumovich was dedicated on November 8, 1970 before a group of veterans, public officials, members of the community and the media.
The sculpture, commemorating all who served in military conflicts, was sponsored by the American Legion Post 226 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 876.
The sculptor is of a World War II soldier poised for action with feet apart, knees bent, head tilted forward, arms extended on either side, muscles delineated. He wears combat fatigues, a helmet, dog-tags, a gun in a holster and boots. The 106x106x18 in. Cor-Ten steel sculpture is mounted on a square iron base of 58 3/4x55 ½ x 46 ¾ inches.
It includes an Inscription: (Plaque on base, incised letters: "The Soldier" - In Honor of Those Who Served Our Country in Time of Need).
A marble plaque on the ground in front of the sculpture reads: “Let Us Remember Their Service/and Keep Faith”/(eagle)/WWII Korean War Vietnam War.
An original design called for a baby in the soldier's arms. Some notorious and controversial incidents involving American troops in Southeast Asia that made the news back here at the time caused the design to be modified and the infant was omitted from the final design.
With the old and loved American Legion building demolished, The Soldier has become the central focal point in the Memorial area of the park. The work of art is known both among veterans and art circles. It remains in good condition thanks to a restoration effort in 2001.
So, this year as we remember and honor our veterans, we also tip our hats to these responsible for creating and preserving this unique and important piece of art as it marks 50 years in our community.
Acknowledgements and credits - History: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheenachi/4026834413/, Photo: Kelly Weber, Also: Musket, Anchor and Plow, The Story of River Edge by Naomi & George Howitt