Cranbury officials move forward on adding names to war monument

Scott Jacobs

Cranbury officials have approved criteria that would allow for names to be added to the war monument in Memorial Park.

The Parks Commission and Cranbury Historical Society organized the criteria sent to township committee members.

“The Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society came before the Parks’ Commission several months ago with, a few names, to be added to that portion of the monument for Vietnam era veterans. We recommended criteria for inclusion of additional names and recently sent those to the Township Committee,” said Tom Weidner, member of the parks commission. “It is my understanding that the township committee approved those criteria. However, the parks commission has not met since the [council] decision, and therefore we will work out the specifics of implementing the criteria with them.”

Officials said the new criteria will allow for the additional names for those who served in Vietnam and will rectify the issue of names missing from the war monument.

“The township and historical society have reviewed records and contacted individuals who seem to be qualified- served during the time of conflict, called Cranbury home and honorably discharged. Those who responded, are interested and have been vetted will be included,” Mayor Taylor said. “We took this process to be sure we included those residents who are from and lived in Cranbury at time of service. This is the most honest and factual way to ensure everyone who should be included is given the option of being included.”

He said officials do not have an exact timeframe on when the names would go on the monument.

“Naturally the sooner the better. I am hoping that this is done by Memorial Day at latest,” Taylor said.

There had been a discussion through the years about how township officials add names and if they should add names, according to Cranbury officials.

“We want to make sure that we honor those who have served and gave their efforts during the Vietnam War. Parks Commission, this year, in conjunction with the historical society have come to us and asked that we do some name additions with some criteria,” Taylor said.

The criteria for those who qualify are:

*Those who served on active duty anywhere in the United States for 180 days during the period of Aug. 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

*Those discharged from active duty due to disability if any part of their active duty was during that time period.

*Those who have served on active duty for more than 180 days and served in Vietnam for any part of that time between 1961-1975.

*None of criteria will apply to those dishonorably discharged.

*If a person’s DD214 form lists Cranbury as the home record of entry or the person can demonstrate substantial and substantiated ties to Cranbury. They would then qualify to be on the monument.

A DD214 form is a certificate or discharge from active duty, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Officials said if individuals served in the reserves during that time period they would not qualify for their names to be placed on the monument.

“Basically, Parks has asked us if we are ok with that criteria and are we ok with adding some names. We have funds that we have already allocated early in the year, so now we are just ready to say we are ok to add some names,” Taylor said.

Cranbury has allocated $2,000 in funds for the project, according to Business Administrator Denise Marabello.

“I think what is great about this is that this is the definition and generally accepted definition of a Vietnam veteran, so the items that indicated are the generally accepted definitions. This is not something a department just came up with,” committeeman Mike Ferrante said. “They went out and found the most objective definition of a veteran and the only additional criteria was having a tie to Cranbury.”

He said the criteria that was sent to committee members were a pretty objective stab at the criteria needed for a project such as this.

“Coming from a long line of military members from the revolutionary war onward, I greatly appreciate the efforts of all who served and will serve. I feel this is an extremely positive and important step for our town and community,” Taylor said.