TRENTON, N.J. – Almost a hundred years after the park was conceived as a memorial to state residents killed in World War I, legislation to add New Jersey Veterans Memorial to High Point State Park’s name is now sitting on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.
The bill passed the full Assembly 75-0 today, and the Senate 39-0 in July.
Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space and sponsored the measure (S542/A3166) that will change the name to High Point State Park and New Jersey Veterans Memorial at the suggestion of local veterans organizations.
“This is in keeping with the original intentions of the men and women who helped make the park a reality in the 1920s,” said Space (R-Sussex). “From its inception, the park was planned to commemorate New Jersey boys who never returned from the war. As the years went by, that noble mission has been lost.”
Col. Anthony Kuser and his wife, Susie Dryden Kuser, donated their mountaintop estate at High Point to the state for a public park in 1923. World War I had just ended several years earlier when the director of the Division of Parks and Forestry proposed a park in memory of 1,400 New Jersey soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Kuser’s later contributed $500,000 to erect a 220-foot granite-clad obelisk on New Jersey’s highest peak to honor the veterans of all wars.
“People recognize the monument but they have no idea it honors the war veterans responsible for our freedoms,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “Renaming this popular recreational area gives our vets the recognition they earned.”
With more than 400,000 veterans, New Jersey ranks 19th in the nation for total number of vets.
Sen. Steve Oroho sponsors the Senate version.