CLIFTON PARK — The town of Clifton Park has announced that it will revitalize the veterans memorial on the Clifton Common by creating a “Veteran Walk of Honor.”
The walk will be built on the existing island where the memorial stands out of 6” by 9” bricks that the town is selling for $100 each. Order forms are available in person at Town Hall or online through the town’s website at https://www.cliftonpark.org/veterans/veterans-memorial-island.html (scroll down and click on the link to the Buy a Brick Order Form).
Any person who has previously served or is currently serving in one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces can be honored with a brick; he or she does not need to be a Clifton Park resident to be recognized. Bricks can also be purchased in honor of a military ship, unit, or organization.
“I’ve been very pleased by the response so far,” Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, himself a former Army officer, said. “We’ve had limited marketing of this opportunity at this point, but in just a couple of weeks, we’ve sold over 100 bricks. And I believe as more people become aware of the project, I’m sure many people will want to participate.”
The town expects to start constructing the walkway once a significant amount of bricks have been sold, Barrett said. He explained there is not a set goal for the total number of bricks the town hopes to sell and incorporate into the walkway. The project is expected to be completed in 2023, Barrett said.
“The final project will be a beautiful addition to the common,” Barrett said. “It’s a very high-profile area. Everybody that drives through the common passes by this location.”
The site currently has a “beautiful” monument at it, Barrett said. The town created the memorial island as a way to symbolize the respect and appreciation the town and the community have for those who have served the country.
“This is just a wonderful opportunity for us to once again remember and thank so many brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country,” Barrett said. “We just believe this enhancement to what is already a beautiful monument, will be something that the town can be proud of for many years into the future.”
Barrett belives that there is probably room for a few thousand of the gray 6” by 9” bricks. The town does not expect to sell two or three-thousand bricks right away.
“I believe as word of this project spreads, many people will want to participate,” Barrett said. “I envision we will sell a significant number, but I really can’t say how many by a certain amount of time.”
This is the first time the town has done something like this, Barrett said. The town has had the existing monument on the island for more than two decades, he explained.
“I’ve always wanted to do something to improve the aesthetic value of the area around the monument. And this was the best idea that I had thought of in recent years, to take this area and improve it to the next level and also do it in a way we can celebrate the service of our veterans.”
The revitalization of the space will also include the construction of a sitting wall and the installation of new plantings and flag poles around the existing monument, Barrett said.
“We want it to be a place where people can visit, reflect upon the incredible sacrifice and service of our veterans,” Barrett said. “We certainly want it to be impressive and aesthetically pleasing, but we want it to be respectful as well, and just put our best foot forward when considering how do we honor our veterans.”
The town wanted to freshen the existing memorial site, bring it up-to-date and make it a more meaningful memorial for veterans, said deputy supervisor and retired Navy Commander Anthony Morelli.
“Adding the bricks is kind of a unique opportunity to recognize and honor individual veterans,” Morelli said.
Morelli recently reached out to the VFW, the American Legion, the Elks, other veteran-centric organizations and those that have significant numbers of veterans in their membership to inform them about the revitalization project and memorial bricks.
“It gives friends, family, an opportunity have something in the middle of town, in a place you may drive by on a regular basis,” Morelli said. “You may be in Clifton Common, walk by and stop, and reflect. Reflect if you have a family member or loved one, someone serving or someone who has served. I have family that I want to honor that way and I think my family is looking to do the same thing with me; I think a lot of people in town will want to take advantage of this opportunity.”