September 11th, 2021
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today cut the ribbon on of Monroe County’s War on Terror Memorial, which honors the sacrifices made by local fallen service members. The memorial features the names of service members from Monroe and surrounding counties who died in U.S. military conflicts beginning in 1990.
“We owe an eternal debt to all of our servicemen and women who died protecting our country and our freedom,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “I hope this memorial will serve as a place of remembrance and honor for the family and friends of our local troops who gave the ultimate sacrifice, while serving as a reminder for future generations of the true cost of our freedom. Thank you to our local veterans and partners in government who came together to see this project through.”
The new memorial features 10 concrete columns that display military emblems -- five emblems represent the branches of the military, one emblem represents the Prisoners of War and service members Missing in Action, and four emblems commemorate the Gulf War, United Shield in Somalia, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom. The centerpiece of the memorial is a life-sized battlefield cross statue depicting the boots, gun and helmet of a fallen soldier on a raised pedestal. The new memorial located southeast of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester in Gary Beikirch Memorial Park.
The Monroe County Parks Department will perform routine upkeep and maintenance of the memorial.
“When our nation faced unthinkable tragedy 20 years ago, we vowed to never forget the horror we experienced nor the heroes who helped in our recovery. And today, we showed that we have not forgotten,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “This memorial allows our community to mourn, to reflect, and to ensure we always remember not just the darkness of September 11, but the bravery and resiliency that united a grieving nation. I’m grateful to County Executive Bello and everyone whose tireless work helped make this project a reality.”
“War on Terror Veterans will be able to come here and remember their buddies that did not get to come home,” said Gold Star father Dan Hasenauer. “We are honored to have served on the committee, proud of our son Jason, and honored he is among those remembered with this memorial.”
“This memorial will serve as a powerful reminder of what the cost of freedom is for people across our globe. Our nation was attacked 20 years ago. Thousands of innocent men, women, and children were targeted by our enemy, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” said Nick Stefanovic, director of the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency. “The men and woman whose names are recorded on this memorial gave their lives defending our nation and the Afghan people from further harm and oppression. It is critical that our community remember them, and that we use this sacred place as an opportunity to teach our youth about the sacrifice our own community made during this war.”
“To see this finally come to fruition fills me with great joy,” said Hector Sotomayor, chairman of the War On Terror Memorial Committee. “It's a way in which our community honors all that have paid the ultimate sacrifice and our gratitude to their families, as a reminder that their sacrifice was not in vain and will never be forgotten. I hope that it also gives their families a place where they can come and find some solace and comfort."