Once the site of a military training base, Marina Bay in Quincy, MA, is the perfect place for a military tribute.
The clock tower, which was dedicated in 1987, stands 85 feet tall. The base of the tower, which is dedicated to the men of Quincy who died as a result of the war in Vietnam, is 16 feet by 16 feet. The tower is built of brick and granite and has a gold leaf cupola. And, yes, the clock still keeps good time.
During the course of the year, the city and other organizations hold special events during important military related holidays such as Veterans Day or other noteworthy days.
Forty eight men from Quincy died either during the Vietnam War or later due to injuries they sustained from the war. The most recent name to be added was Capt. Alan Brudno. Capt. Brudno died in 2004 after suffering from PTSD which he was afflicted with after being held as a POW for 2,675 days.
A quote from President Kennedy and the names of all of the men from Quincy who passed away during or after the war are etched on the tower.
Small shops and restaurants dot the boardwalk along the bay. The views from the boardwalk located behind the tower offers pretty views of Boston and the surrounding area.
Besides the obvious sentimental value of the monument at Marina Bay, this was also sentimental for me for a very different reason.
I have spent many days and nights at Marina Bay (and not just to partake in the nightlife the area offers). I used to work in the building directly across the street from the monument.
The Marina Bay area has changed a lot since the days I spent working there. But, that’s a topic for another blog post.
There is a surprising amount of wildlife and animal habitat in the area. Seals are often found in the bay during the winter and I vaguely remember avoiding a turkey and deer (before they began developing he area) on my way to work in the past.
I did see this little critter during my photo shoot.
I also saw Sassy, a 12 year old mixed breed dog, during my visit.
the entrance to the park is on State St, although it is often listed as Chestnut St.
don’t forget to read the signs placed throughout the memorial for more background information about the memorials
It’s not common knowledge, or it’s a conveniently forgotten fact, that Africans and other people were brought to the northern states as slaves. It was not just something that plagued the south.
The first known slave that was sent to Portsmouth was a man from Guinea who was brought there in 1645. He was not the only either. Soon, hundreds of other slaves would follow. In fact, during the Colonial Era, Portsmouth had the largest number of slaves in the colony. Up to 4 percent of the population of the town were slaves, according to a 1767 census. By 1810, there were virtually no slaves in the area. However, rumors of the “Negro Burying Yard” persisted.
The site, referenced in town records as, “the Negro Burying Yard” was paved over, built upon and dismissed. That is, until 2015.
Years and years passed with these bodies buried unceremoniously in an unmarked gravesite until a work crew excavating the area found wooden coffins with human remains buried under the pavement. DNA analysis and other tests confirmed the individuals exhumed as being African. In 2008, 8 bodies and coffins were dug up in the area. There were roughly 200 bodies buried there. After much debate, the town decided to re-inter the bodies in their original resting place. In 2015, the remains were buried and the memorial was built and dedicated to them.
At the entrance to the park there is a memorial of two people on a slab facing opposite directions. This was meant to embody the separation and uncertainty experienced by those brought here as captives as well as their perserverance. The gap between their fingertips is meant to be a reminder of their forced separation and the divisions of past injustice.
The sculptures of the people are called The Entry Figures. The male figure in the group stands for the first enslaved Africans that were brought to Portsmouth and those that followed.
The woman on the other side of the represents Mother Africa. She is endlessly straining past the obstacles that keep her from her children of the Diaspora.
The pain etched on their faces is undeniable.
As you enter the park, you may notice words etched on the ground. These words are the “petition line.” The petition line is a collection of phrases from the Freedom Petition that 20 men who were purchased as slaves had filed with the New Hampshire legislature to gain their freedom. (see video below to see the Petition Line).
Roughly in the middle of the park is a design under which the burial vault is located. The Adinkra Figure “Sankofa” meaning “Return and Get It – Learn From The Past” forms a shield and cover for the burial vault. The re-interred bodies rest beneath this this shield never to be disturbed again.
The life-sized bronze silhouettes, known as the “community figures”, represent the collective community of Portsmouth. They are meant to symbolize the people who fought to acknowledge, pay tribute to and defend the souls whose remains were recovered there. Each of the figures has a line from a poem by the memorial’s designer and sculptor, Jerome Meadows.
Encircling the figures on the railing are designs based on African kente cloth motif. The shapes of the designs are meant to represent boat paddles. The ceramic tiles were created by students from the Portsmouth Public Schools. Having the children of the area create these decorative tiles was meant to be a gesture to those buried there. The younger generation were able to contribute to the memorial and possibly, in some small way, pay tribute to the people buried there. One of the videos below shows the tiles in their entirety.
The park is a peaceful place for reflection. I was a relief and heart warming, though, to see children (you may hear them in one of the videos), playing and enjoying their time at the park, unaware of the tragedy that occurred there. I think those buried there would be happy to know others are able to enjoy the park despite the sadness attached to it.
I also think it is important to try to find light and not only learn from these memorials but also find inspiration there.
These videos below show the railing and petition line at the park.
Mostly known for the tourist attractions Plimoth Plantation and Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Massachusetts is home to another lesser known, but no less impressive attraction. In fact, Plymouth is home to one of the largest sculptures in the states.
Clocking in at 81 feet, the National Monument To The Forefathers is the the largest solid granite sculpture in the United States. The granite was quarried in and transported to Plymouth from Hallowell, Maine.
The monument, also known as the Pilgrim Statue, was created by Hammatt Billings, a Boston architect, illustrator and sculptor. Billings would never got to see the sculpture in its final stages. Billings died 15 years into the construction of the monument, or about half the time it took to construct the statue. After Hammat Billings’ death his brother, Joseph, worked with a group of other sculptors to complete the project. Dedicated on August 1, 1889, after 30 years of construction, the sculpture was meant to be a memorial to the Pilgrims who settled in the area.
The memorial has several statues within the memorial itself. Statues representing Liberty, Peace, Tyranny, Education, Wisdom, Youth, Law, Mercy, Justice, and Morality surround the monument. The monument wwas position to face Northeast towards Plymouth Harbor and, perhaps not coincidentally, towards Plymouth, England.
Faith, the statue at the top of the monument, is 36 feet tall and made of solid granite. The Faith statue itself is listed as the 32nd largest statue in the entire United States and its territories. The statue is pointing to heaven with her right hand. In her left hand she is clutching a bible.
True to its description as a monument to the forefathers, all of the names of the passengers of the Mayflower. Recognize any names? Clearly, Massachusetts, as it would be later part of, was not all that progressive jusging by how women were considered “the wife of” the male passengers.
The park offers grand views of the statue and it is said that before all of the construction and the planting of trees in the area many years, you could see the monument from miles away. The park allows for some scenic views of the monument.
The memorial is surrounded by a spacious park and there is lots of room to walk your dog. China, also known as China Doll, a rescued Siberian Husky and Lab mix, was enjoying the park while I was there. She looks so happy!
Dates Of Exhibit: August 18 – 21, 2016 (the exhibit will be making another appearance in New England October 20 when it arrives in West Haven, CT and will then go to New Milford, CT, Leominster, MA and the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT)
Location: Eastern States Exposition (Gate 9) , 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA
Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Parking: Parking was free for viewing the memorial (it is usually $5 to park there). There were about 70 parking spots.
Dog Friendly: No
Highlights: Replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Mobile Educational Center, military memorabilia and vehicles, helicopter liftoff
The traveling replica of the Wall That Heals spent the weekend of August 18-21 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts before continuing its tour. It is presently in Princetown, New York until August 28. Click below to see the entire 2016 schedule for the wall
A half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Wall That Heals has been to more than 400 cities throughout the United States. It was dedicated on Veteran’s Day (November 11), 1996.
The Wall That Heals is meant to not only act as a reminder of all those who died in the service of their country during the Vietnam Conflict it also is meant to help veterans cope and heal from the pain they still harbor and hopefully help them heal.
There is also a mobile Education Center which has educational information on the walls of the truck. In one section of the exterior of the truck there was a list and photos of the people from Massachusetts lost in Vietnam. Another section showed the names and photos from the area where the truck was parked (Western MA) and a final video screen displayed all of the victims of the war. There is also timelines of the war and additional background information of the war.
You can’t help but to be moved by seeing all of the names on the wall. All of those names had dreams, hopes, futures that were snuffed out much too early. I kept thinking how much more they were meant to accomplish. They were supposed to fall in love and have children and outlive their parents. What really got to me was seeing the photos, notes, flowers and flags that were left behind. Even decades later, the wounds are still fresh for so many.
The 250 foot long wall has over 58,000 names.
On a lighter note, one thing I have always respected and admired about people in the service and veterans is their sense of humor and ability to turn just about anything into a joke. This signpost, presumably a replica of a sign at one of the American camps in Vietnam details the distances (from West Springfield, MA) to Camp Pendleton (2,494 mi), Ia Drang (8,599 mi), Vietnam Wall (371 mi) and, of course, Disney World (1,236 mi). Home is wherever you are so that shows 0 miles.
There were also tables with military gear from the Vietnam War era and military vehicles also from that era.
We were also treated to a helicopter liftoff (video of the liftoff follows below) by an Army Black Hawk Medevac. The things on the side are either gun pods or for launching torpedoes. Watching them prep for the liftoff showed me just how much care and preparation goes into every flight and just how meticulous they are about checking their flight gear.
Below are videos of a walking tour of The Wall That Heals (I only walked half of the wall with the video recording because it was a high traffic area) and the Blackhawk helicopter liftoff.
Places With Similar Monuments I Have Visited In New England:
Location: Beech St, Manchester, New Hampshire (with access points on Union, St, Amherst St and Hanover St)
Cost: Free to the public
Although a statue that is dedicated to the veterans of the Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Phillipine-American War, Bronstein Park celebrates a hero from another war.
Although “The Hiker” stands prominently at the street entrance to the park, Bronstein Park (formerly known as Hanover Square) is actually named after a corpsman who died in World War II; Dr. Ben Richard Bronstein, the first Manchester, New Hampshire, resident to die during the war. Dr Bronstein’s brother, Maurice Bronstein, donated the memorial to the park in 1990.
The inscription on the memorial is hard to read in some parts. It states:
“in memory of Dr. BEN RICHARD BRONSTEIN, LIEUTENANT, MEDICAL CORPS, aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Jacob Jones Lost in Action, February 28, 1942 First Naval Officer From the State of New Hampshire To have Sacrificed his life in the fulfillment of his duty in World War II.”
Another memorial pays tribute to Dr. Bronstein’s brother, Stephen Max Bronstein, who also served during the war.
“The Hiker” was originally sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson in 1906. The original statue was made for the University of Minnesota. However, 50 copies were made of her statue and were distributed all over America. Manchester, New Hampshire was the recipient of one of the copies of her statue. The statue is made of bronze on a base of granite, of course.
The name “hiker” was a moniker the American soldiers in the Spanish American War and Philippine-American War gave themselves because of the long hikes they took in the jungle. Kitson said the hiker, “depicts a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield.”
Leonard Sefing, Jr., a Spanish-American War veteran, was the model for the statue.
A close inspection of the statue shows a weary soldier clad in civilian type apparel.
An American flag stands in front of the memorial for Dr. Ben Bronstein.
One strange thing I noticed is a warning posted that prohibits people from hanging out at the park during school hours. So that is something to bear in mind if you do visit. I’m not sure why this restriction is in place. I can only imagine you would be the talk of the town in prison if you ever got convicted of it “Don’t mess with that guy. He’s in here for loitering.” (I know it’s probably just a fine)
Below are some additional photos of the park from different angles.
In the midst of half drunk college pranksters, families on day trips, tourists dressed in their Halloween costume of choice and an assortment of other revelers stands a somber memorial to the victims of the Salem witch trials.
Directly across from shops that hawk kitschy tourists souvenirs and “haunted houses” designed to spook people of all ages, is a memorial that commemorates a dark part of American history. Without this dark time, there would be no kitschy souvenirs or haunted houses.
Dedicated in 1992, the Salem Witch Trials TerCentenary, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, pays tribute to the 20 victims of the hysteria.
Twenty benches, representing each of the 20 victims, stretch out from the stone wall. Each bench or slab has each victim etched into it with the date of their death. Often times, people will leave stones, coins, flowers, notes and other little gifts or mementos behind.
At the entrance on the ground are snippets of the quotes from some of the victims just before their deaths.
Of course, trials has a double meaning and it is a fitting use of the term.
When most people think of the witch hysteria that gripped the New England colonies in 1692 and 1693, they are likely to think it began and took place exclusively in Salem. However, although they are known as the Salem Witch Trials and Salem largely takes the infamy of the witch hunt, Salem does not hold that infamous title.
Salem Village, now known as Danvers, has the infamous distinction of being the beginning of the Salem witch hysteria. It is here in Danvers, Massachusetts, where a somber memorial stands as a constant reminder to remember this past and to never let something like this happen again.
Erected in May, 1992, the monuments lists the 20 people who were executed during the witch trials.
Each slab lists a quote of innocence from each victim.
The rays spilling in from the top of the memorial was a nice touch.
Some of the more poignant quotes listed on the wall are:
“Well! burn me or hang me. I will stand in the truth of Christ…” – George Jacobs, Sr
“Amen. Amen. A false tongue will never make a guilty person.” – Susannah Martin
The memorial also has a sculpture of “The Book Of Life” on top of a table that has a tribute etched in the base.
Attached to each side of the book are chains. Stark reminders of the pain they endured.
Someone left a flower at the memorial, a common occurrence at this memorial, particularly during this time of the year.
The memorial site has many pretty views to photograph from a variety of angles and the foliage added a nice touch. The foliage gave a serene feeling in contrast to the moving memorial.
In front of the memorial, there is monument that lists the generous donors who made the memorial possible. You may notice the red door on the house in the background. This is not unusual for the area. The houses in Danvers and the surrounding area were beautiful in their understated uniqueness and pretty yet rustic nature.
A sign, inconspicuously posted by the side of the road explains the origins and history of the site and surrounding area as well as the meaning behind the memorial.