ROTTERDAM -- A new Schenectady County memorial to those who served in Vietnam will be constructed next spring and summer, county officials said.
Late last week, officials released renderings of what the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, to be located near SUNY Schenectady County Community College, will look like. It will include a memorial stone with an outline of both North and South Vietnam with the countries' major cities marked. The memorial will also include a concrete viewing area with granite benches, solar-powered lighting and a flag pole.
The memorial will be located near where the Hudson-Mohawk Bike Path separates from a community college access road and heads west toward Rotterdam Junction, just south of the Western Gateway Bridge. The location has a view of the Mohawk River.
County officials estimate there are about 9,000 veterans of all wars who live in Schenectady County. A breakdown of how many county residents served in Vietnam isn't readily available, but it was likely hundreds of individuals.
A list compiled by vietvet.org shows at least 31 military service members from Schenectady County died in action during the Vietnam War.
"This will be the first Schenectady County veterans memorial dedicated specifically to Vietnam veterans," said County Legislator Holly Vellano, C-Rotterdam, chairwoman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, Renewable Energy and Parks. "Their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten."
"Schenectady County is forever grateful to those who have served and are currently serving in the military," said Legislature Chairman Anthony Jasenski, R-Rotterdam. "The memorial park is one small way for us to show our respect and admiration for the sacrifices service members have made for our country."
Discussion about establishing a county Vietnam memorial began last year. In June the County Legislature voted to approve $81,000 in funding. Design work is expected to be finalized in the next few months, with construction starting in the spring.
The planned monument would feature a 4-foot-high granite memorial with a 25-foot flag pole. Construction is estimated to take four or five months.