This coming October, the City of Bristol, its Parks, Recreation, Youth & Community Services Department, and the Bristol Historical Society, along with the Bristol Veterans Council, Memorial Military Museum, and the extended community plan to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Memorial Boulevard which opened in 1921. The following is the seventh article in a monthly series written by Tom Dickau commemorating the centennial anniversary of the park by depicting the history behind the land, people, and events that helped shape it into the park Bristol treasures today.
COMMEMORATIVE SIDE OF THE VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK
VETERANS TRIBUTE WALKWAY
The sixth article in June regarding the 100th Anniversary of the Memorial Boulevard discussed the first two monuments located on the Commemorative Side of the Veterans Memorial Park. This section is situated on the north side of the boulevard next to the Pequabuck River. It is dedicated to all men and women, who entered our country’s military service since colonial times. The first memorial serves as an introduction, recognizing the country’s five service branches: Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force and the United States Coast Guard. The second monument, the Spanish -American War Soldier, recognizes the deceased World War II Veterans.
The Commemorative Side continues in an easterly direction with the Bristol Veterans Tribute Walkway dedicated on May 27, 2001 by the Bristol Veterans Council. This has become the connector, joining together the memorials on the Commemorative Side. Running west to east alphabetically, it begins after “The Hiker” and ends at the park’s main sidewalk after the final memorial marker. It is comprised of ten divisions on the west side and nine sections on the east. Each division contains memorial bricks dedicated to past and present male and female member of the armed services. Each brick is inscribed with the branch of service and the name of the veteran. Six unmarked rows of bricks are neatly arranged between each section. An enclosed glossary or index is available, between the west and east side, to assist visitors in locating a specific memorial brick. This walkway contains tributes to members of all the military branches, including one memorial each for a veteran of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Additional memorial bricks can be purchased by contacting Army Strong at City Hall or Treasurer Stanley Piotrowski of the Bristol Veterans Council.
The next memorial recognizes both the servicemen who died during World War I as well as, city benefactor, Albert F. Rockwell. A bronze plaque adorned with a patriotic eagle is inscribed:
THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED TO
HONOR THOSE SOLDIERS FROM BRISTOL
CONNECTICUT WHO LOST THEIR LIVES
DURING WORLD WAR I. A PIN-OAK
TREE HAS BEEN PLANTED ALONG THE
MEMORIAL BOULEVARD WHICH WAS
DONATED TO THE CITY OF BRISTOL
BY ALBERT F. ROCKWELL IN MEMORIAL
FOR EACH SOLDIER WHO MADE
THE SUPREME SACRIFICE. THIS
COMEMORATIVE TREE WAS PLANTED
ON NOVEMBER 11, VETERANS DAY, 1968.
BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS
MAYOR HENRY J. WOJTUSIK, CHAIRMAN
JOSEPH J. RILEY JR., VICE CHAIRMAN AND
EDWIN N. DECKER, SECRETARY
HERBERT L. KERN MICHAEL W. BANNAN JR.
CHESTER G. MERROW PERRY J. SPINELLI
The next bronze memorial marker, which is mounted on a rock foundation is dedicated to our city’s Revolutionary War Patriots
IN MEMORY OF THE
REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS
WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES
AND FORTUNES FOR THEIR COUNTRY
KATHERINE GAYLORD CHAPTER
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
The next structure on the Commemorative Side is The Memorial Boulevard Gazebo, with benches to accommodate visitors.
Directly behind the gazebo are two granite obelisks recognizing the major conflicts in which the United States engaged. Two patriotic eagles facing each other adorn the top of these memorials. The monument of the left is inscribed with five significant events:
U.S. MARINE BARRACKS MFL
OPERATION URGENT FURY
OPERATION JUST CAUSE
1989 – 90 PANAMA
OPERATION DESERT SHIELD
1990 SAUDI ARABIA
OPERATION EAGLE CLAW
U.S. EMBASSY HOSTAGE CRISIS RESCUE ATTEMPT
To its right, the second obelisk reads:
OPERATION DESERT STORM
1991 KUWAIT – IRAQ
OPERATION RESTORE HOPE
1992 – 93 SOMALIA
OPERATION DELIBERATE FORCE
OPERATION JOINT GUARDIAN
1999 – 2000 KOSOVO
These monuments are also known as the, “NO SERVICE LEFT UNRECOGNIZED MEMORIALS”.
The reverse side of each memorial can be utilized as needed in the future.
These memorials are surrounded by the United States and Connecticut flags.