The Schenectady County Legislature dedicated the newly finished Schenectady County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park at SUNY Schenectady. The park is located between the back parking lot and State Street, and includes a memorial plaque, a concrete viewing area with granite benches, lighting and a flag pole. A new crosswalk was added, from the parking lot to the walkway, for easy pedestrian access to the park.
The memorial park is the first County park to honor Schenectady County residents who served in the military during the Vietnam War. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate, over 8,500 veterans call Schenectady County home, 2,700 of which are Vietnam Veterans.
“This new memorial is a small way for our County to pay tribute to the men and women of Schenectady County who selflessly served during the Vietnam War,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “We are honored and humbled to give these veterans the recognition they have always deserved but were not given when they returned home.”
“Many of my friends and neighbors were drafted or enlisted during the Vietnam War – it’s something I’ll never forget,” said Legislator Holly Vellano. “When I was approached by a member of the Schenectady County Veterans Council, I knew something had to be done – our Vietnam Veterans deserve a memorial for their service and sacrifice. While some may not have chosen to serve, they all served our country with honor.”
“We are truly honored to have the Schenectady County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park located on our campus,” said Dr. Steady Moono, President of SUNY Schenectady. “It is a serene place for reflection and a fitting tribute to those in our community who served in the military during the Vietnam War.”
“I speak for my fellow Vietnam Veterans when I say thank you for giving us the welcome home gift we missed when we returned so many years ago,” said William Frank, Director of the Schenectady County Department of Veterans Affairs, Vietnam Veteran and member of the Vietnam Memorial Committee. “This memorial not only pays tribute to those who served during Vietnam, but also to the thirty-two servicemembers from the County who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Marine Corps League Color Guard raised the American Flag during the ceremony, and Legislator Vellano and William Frank, Vietnam Veteran and member of the Vietnam Memorial Committee unveiled the memorial plaque.
The Legislature allocated $81,000 in capital funds for the project in June of 2019.
Purple Heart Community
The Schenectady County Legislature passed a resolution in February of 2021 proclaiming Schenectady County as a Purple Heart Community. The designation honors the service and sacrifice of the men and women in uniform who were wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.