Nestled along the intersection of Canal Street and Old York Road/Somerset Street in Raritan, NJ, The John Basilone Monument stands tall for all to see. It aptly depicts a shirtless Basilone, holding a Browning machine gun with a round of ammunition and his dog tags strung around his neck and back. He was well known for using a similar gun to take out thirty-eight or more Japanese soldiers during The Battle for Henderson field in World War II. This statue memorializes the young soldier and his shining example of being a valiant marine.
I was struck by the fact that one of the greatest marines of all time is memorialized in such a small town in New Jersey. However, it is Basilone’s hometown, and his monument stands as a perfect example of a “hometown hero” and the fact that anyone can aspire to really accomplish something in life if they want to.
The monument really makes you think about why he is depicted in one of his greatest moments rather than memorializing his tragic death on the battlefield. This is most likely because of his status as a true “hometown hero,” and it is a wonderful way to remember our countries finest.