Stafford Township Heritage Park Cultural Center

Travis Houston

The name of the monument is the Stafford Township Heritage Park Cultural Center. It represents the birth and growth of a new town and the progress of a nation as a whole.

What surprised me most about the monument was its age, which is a little over 250 years old. From learning about its age and exploring the grounds of the monument it was like literally peering back in time to before this great country had even formed states.


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9/11 Memorial, Union Beach, NJ

Tracy Scott

This monument stands as a reminder of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and in memory of the World Trade Center and all the lives lost.  It is located right across the bay from New York City at the intersection of Florence Ave. and Front St. on the waterfront in Union Beach.

I found the realistic etching of New York, along with the little notch at the top to be very interesting.  Upon investigation, I found the etching was meant to serve as a means of comparison between pre and post 9/11 while the notch outlines exactly where the towers once stood.  Gazing through this notch, you can see exactly where the skyline on NYC was changed.

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John Basilone Monument

Thaddeus Wislinski

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.





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College Avenue Campus Gateways, Rutgers University

Suzanne Castaline

Henry Rutgers Baldwin Gateway

I observed four small monuments to create one larger monument. I took a closer look at the four main gateways that surround the historic Old Queens campus on the College Avenue Campus (the Henry Rutgers Baldwin Gateway, the Class of 1882 Memorial Gateway, the Class of 1883 Memorial Gateway, and the Class of 1902 Memorial Gateway). Overtime, these donated and preserved gifts from graduates from these years, have served as a link to graduates that preceded them as well as future graduates to come.

The Class of 1882 Memorial Gateway

When I began researching Old Queens, I first found the rich history of the architecture of the buildings to be the most fascinating. In terms of the gateways, I had not even considered to regard them as monuments, let alone had the desire to investigate them further. However, in reading various online articles about Old Queens, I came across the Rutgers Library Special Collections section, where I learned that they had each been individually donated by various graduated classes. I found it particular curious as to why not one, but four classes had donated gateways to the university as gifts and wished to explore this more in depth.

The Class of 1883 Memorial Gateway

It was my sense of surprise that lead me to re-evaluate my chosen monument for my project, which brought me to understand that the history of these gifts are just as rich as the buildings of Old Queens. In using Trachtenberg’s ideas that monuments can have “usable pasts,” I was able to analyze that these gateways allow for the freezing of memories that the Class of 1882, 1883, and 1902 left behind for future Rutgers scholars to study. Personally, it allowed me to explore the symbolism and the history of this campus, which lead me to figure out what the gateways’ true expected narrative is.

The Class of 1902 Memorial Gateway

Through personally observing these gateways, I’ve been able to conclude that their expected narrative is one of progress. Ultimately, the gateways have come to represent the progress of pursuing knowledge and how Rutgers University has and will provide this for its students of the past, present, and future.





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Samadhi Buddha

Sukanya Dutta

The Samadhi Buddha statue at the New Jersey Vihara (a Buddhist temple) is nestled amongst houses and foliage on Route 27, and even though the statue is 25-feet tall, it is easy to miss simply because one does not expect an enormous Buddha to appear on the way to Princeton, NJ. “Samadhi” refers to the mental state where the thinker becomes indistinguishable from the object they are concentrating upon; the Vihara hopes that its statue will help visitors achieve this high level of meditative consciousness.

I first saw the Samadhi Buddha by chance when I was driving at night. The monument was luminous and looked too magical and powerful to be on a thoroughly ordinary road. I was shocked that this statue was here in New Jersey and not in an impressive Japanese historical site, or at the very least in a hippie sanctuary in California. After interviewing people at the Vihara, though, I admonished myself for being so taken aback by the depth of diversity in New Jersey.

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Leroy Homer Memorial

Steve Burkholder

The Leroy Homer Memorial is located at Memorial Field in Marlton, New Jersey.  This memorial commemorates Leroy Homer, who was a member of the Air Force and co-piloted United Flight 93, which was hijacked on September, 11th 2001.  The memorial consists of a stone walkway to a rock and bench which are each inscribed with information about Homer’s service in the Air Force as well as his life.

The aspect of the monument that struck me the most was the fact that there was even a monument in Homer’s hometown at all.  The tragedy that occurred on September 11th was such a nationally monumental event that a national monument would be likely, but this monument was simply to honor Leroy.

The monument made me realize the pride that Marlton had in Leroy because members of the town took the initiative to promote the construction of a monument in their hometown.

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Silent Willy

Stephanie Thomas

The monument I chose to study is Willy the Silent, located at the end of the Voorhees Mall between Seminary Place and Hamilton Street. Willy the Silent is seen as a hero in the Netherlands, so he is here on campus to show Rutgers pride in its Dutch background. What surprised me about this monument is how few people know its purpose or why he is here – many students think it is actually William Shakespeare! Through exploring my surprise, I realized that I also do not know Rutgers as well as I thought. I walk the streets of campus every day and still am still unfamiliar with all of its history. By learning about Willy, I feel compelled to learn about the significance of other things around campus and why they are important and unique to Rutgers.


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