SCHENECTADY — More than 600 residents of the city’s Goose Hill neighborhood have served in the armed forces dating back to Spanish-American War.
Now their names are chiseled in stone.
Under a quiet and still day, the Goose Hill Veterans Memorial at Steinmetz Park was unveiled on Monday.
The new monument commemorates residents who have served in combat and non-combat military positions.
A slate of state, federal and local officials spoke to a crowd of roughly 125 people gathered on a quiet, still morning.
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to Tricia Shaw, daughter of the late Brigadier Gen. James H. Shaw.
Shaw, a lifelong Goose Hill resident who died last year, was one of the memorial’s earliest supporters.
The World War II veteran enlisted in the U.S. Army in November of 1942. After graduating from radio operator/mechanic school and aerial gunner school, he racked up 500 hours of aerial combat as a radio operator and gunner.
Shaw served overseas for one year and was stationed in China, Burma and the India Theater, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service. He later returned home to raise his family and serve in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
Tricia Shaw recounted a list of family members who continue to reside in the neighborhood.
“We are a part of Goose Hill,” she said.
The memorial was unveiled amid other improvements to Steinmetz Park, including a flagpole, new landscaping and benches.
The campaign, led by project co-chairs Camille Sasinowski and David Bouck, also aims to eventually install fitness equipment at the site.
A separate component of the project at the 44-acre park aims to repair the stone wall surrounding the lake that was constructed during the Depression-era Works Progress Administration program.
The community has been generous with their contributions, Sasinowski said, most of whom have ties to the Goose Hill neighborhood.
Bouck noted late mayor Karen Johnson was also an early supporter and advocate for the project.
“People may not know this, but it was the last project she worked on before she became ill,” he said.
The city also contributed in-kind services.
“You’re seeing investments across the city,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy. “It’s making a difference and restoring value.”
Improvements as part of state- and county-funded renovation efforts include the construction of a pavilion and infrastructure upgrades.
The park has historically served as the heart of the neighborhood, said Sasinowski, hosting ice-skating lessons and young romances.
“We all thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Sasinowski said.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, said this year’s Veterans Day commemorations are particularly emotional as his father, a World War II veteran who fought in the Pacific Theater, died earlier this year.
The state lawmaker said it’s easy to overlook how transformative World War II was to all elements of society. The G.I. Bill, for instance, allowed people like his father to attend college, many of whom were the first in their families to do so.
Steck traveled to Europe this year and visited U.S. and German cemeteries containing the remains of those killed in the Battle of the Bulge.
“When you go over to the German cemetery, it’s extremely, extremely sad because the Americans who fought there died to make the world a better place,” Steck said. “And the German side, for a madman — an egomaniac, and a lunatic.”