An estimated 300 dignitaries and guests turned out June 1 for the dedication of the Portuguese- American monument, designed by Thomas Meloro & Son Monuments of North Arlington, in a section of Riverbank Park in Kearny.
The Portuguese Cultural Association of Kearny, led by Board of Trustees President Carlos J. Cunha and Executive Board President Jose Maria Matos, organized a fundraising drive in support of the stone structure which honors the Portuguese community.
It bears the inscription quoted from the Portuguese epic poem, “Lusiadas, Canto VII,” by Luiz Van De Camoes, published in 1572, translated as: “… and if there had been more world, they would have reached it,” referring to the early Portuguese explorers.
First Ward Councilman Albino Cardoso, a member of the PCA who had pushed for the tribute, said he was “very pleased it is now done. It is something that has been envisioned for quite some time.”
Of the approximately $20,000 budgeted for the project, “more than half” has been collected to date, according to Cardoso.
Principal speakers were Portuguese Consul General Dr. Pedro Soares De Oliveira, Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, Hudson County Freeholder Albert J. Cifelli and Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise.
The Rev. Adauto Alves, of St. Cecilia’s Church, Kearny, blessed the monument.
Our Lady of Fatima Band of Newark and Sonhos De Portugal, a Kearny-based Portuguese folklore dance troupe, performed.