By Karen Zautyk
This township, which has been in the forefront when it comes to offering support and assistance and recognition to veterans, has launched yet another project to pay tribute to the men and women who have served our nation. This time, going all the way back to the American Revolution.
The Nutley Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the Nutley AMVETS, is creating a “Wall of American Honor,” which will feature images — photos, sketches, portraits — of all township veterans from 1776 on.
Also eligible are veterans who may not have personally lived in Nutley, but whose descendants or other relatives are current residents.
So, Nutleyites, if your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, husband, wife, uncle, cousin, whatever, wore this country’s uniform, you are invited to submit that person’s picture for inclusion on the wall.
In the words of Commissioner Steven Rogers, “It will be an enduring legacy that will enable future generations to see for themselves, through these photos, what their friends and relatives did to preserve the nation.”
The veterans need not have served in combat; those who swore their oath of allegiance in times of peace are also to be honored, for they, too, did their part to “preserve the nation.”
When completed, the display will be on a mobile wall, which can be incorporated into the ceremonies marking Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
There will also be virtual “walls” for viewing on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Facebook page and its website.
Rogers noted that the idea came from the department, which also decided to enlist Nutley youngsters in the project. “This wall is going to be an educational tool, constructed by students,” he said, explaining that they will be framing the photos and organizing the makeup of the wall.
Area Scout troops, the school district and the Nutley High School Patriot Club have been recuited, the commissioner said, but any local child or teen is welcome to volunteer. Just contact him at the Department of Public Affairs: 973-284-4976.
As for the photos (or drawings or portraits) of the vets, these should be mailed to Rogers at the Department of Public Affairs at 149 Chestnut St., Nutley 07110. “We do not need original photos, copies will do,” said Courtney Johnson, executive director of the department. In fact, you can even email the images to him at: cjohnson@ nutleynj.org.
Please note that, along with the photos, the department needs the names of the individuals pictured and the contact information for those submitting the images. If you know the veteran’s branch of service (and that can include the oft-overlooked U.S. Merchant Marine) and the years they served, that information can be added.
Rogers emphasized that the veteran does not have to be a current or former township resident. “There just has to be some Nutley connection.”
“As time goes on,” Rogers said, “I have noticed that the legacy of our veterans is getting lost.” He hopes that this project will be “an inspiration to those veterans and their families, to know that their legacy will live on forever.”
Also in recognition of that legacy, Rogers noted that all Nutley veterans are entitled to a medal. For information on that program, or on benefits for veterans, call Public Affairs at 973-284- 4976.
Plans are to unveil the “Wall of American Honor” on Veterans Day 2015.