The Ship - All Hands - Decorations - Remembrance
|"We intend this place to be hallowed ground, consecrated and pristine, that will truly honor all veterans who asked for little and gave so much."|
On December 9, 2000, the stern plate of Enterprise CV-6 was dedicated at its new resting place in River Vale's Veterans' Memorial Parks. Following are remarks given by River Vale's Mayor, Dr. Raymond Z. Darakjian, on this occasion.
As Mayor of the Township of River Vale, I have the singular and distinct privilege of welcoming all of you to our community for the dedication of this Veterans' Memorial Park. Although, at the present, this park has inscribed on its monuments only the names of River Vale's residents who left this township to enter the military in times of active combat, the stern plate from the aircraft carrier Enterprise CV-6 is also prominently displayed. The residents of this fine township, however, respectfully recognize that this historic relic belongs to all Americans and feel that its majestic presence makes this park a symbolic offering to all veterans from every corner and community of our country who fought to defend our nation's ideals. We wish to honor every man and woman who sacrificed to gain, preserve and protect the freedoms which we, as citizens of this great country, enjoy today.
In many ways this park had its birth over 200 years ago, when Americans filled with honor took up arms and declared that this country would tolerate no oppressors. As the history of this nation clearly shows, Americans throughout the ages stood proud and tall when called to give whatever was required to keep their families and their country safe and free. This park will be a peaceful setting for people to reflect upon the actions of all our nation's brothers and sisters who choose to willingly go when duty called, and all who never returned. We intend this place to be hallowed ground, consecrated and pristine, that will truly honor all veterans who asked for little and gave so much.
I note with pride that our heritage as residents of River Vale has bestowed upon us the obligation to act as loyal custodians for the stern plate of the aircraft carrier Enterprise, the most decorated ship of World War Two. Although it is a treasure to be forever embraced, it is far more than metal and a name. This stern plate from a mighty ship is the touchstone that opens a portal to over 370 souls that were offered up from her decks, and to the spirit embodied by all our country's veterans who served in mortal conflicts.
Many people feel that words are inadequate to relate how we, as Americans, feel about our veterans. To show our appreciation, the residents of River Vale created this park hoping that it will portray what words cannot. In time, we intend to expand this site to encompass another monument naming additional members of our community who fought for this country and who rightfully deserve our admiration. We earnestly desire that our soil and the placement of our sacred artifacts is a fitting tribute not only to those named herein, but also to all of America's veterans, whose courage, convictions and determination made our country the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We will be forever grateful, as the beneficiaries of the invaluable eternal gifts that they have bestowed upon us, our childrens' children, and the world.