UNION COUNTY – To honor the military service of Union County recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced the commemoration of a permanent Medal of Honor Memorial at the County Complex in Elizabeth. The memorial will be dedicated in a public ceremony at the County Courthouse on 2 Broad St. on Friday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m.
“This memorial is a legacy for future generations of Union County residents, to foster renewed appreciation for the bravery and dedication of our fellow citizens who received the Medal of Honor, and to inspire us all to do our best for our country and our communities,” said Freeholder Chairman Linda Carter.
Relatives, friends, and historians have been invited to contribute to the dedication ceremony and to an accompanying exhibit, by sharing their memories, knowledge and memorabilia.
The guest speaker for the event will be Dr. Ralph Oriscello, who served in Vietnam with Medal of Honor recipient Charles Joseph Watters.
The Medal of Honor recipients from Union County are:
• Julian Scott, a Civil War drummer and one of the youngest ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Scott was also a prominent 19th century artist. His work can be seen at the Drake House Museum in Plainfield.
• Rufus King, an Army Major during the Civil War.
• James Madison Drake, an Army Lieutenant during the Civil War.
• William J. Brant., Jr., an Army Lieutenant during the Civil War.
• John Williams, II, a veteran of the Civil War.
• Theodore F. Smith, an Army private who served in the Indian Wars.
• Alan Louis Eggers, a World War I veteran who served in France.
• Thomas E. O’Shea, a World War I veteran who served in France.
• William Fred Stockham, a World War I veteran who served in France.
• Charles Joseph Watters, a US Army Chaplain who served in Vietnam, where he was killed in action in 1967. He served as a parish priest at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Cranford.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor in the United States. It was created in the early years of the Civil War to recognize extraordinary acts of personal valor above and beyond the call of duty.
The Union County Medal of Honor Memorial ceremony will take place in the chambers of Judge Karen Cassidy. At the conclusion, attendees are invited to view the memorial, located at the southwest corner of the Courthouse — intersection of Elizabethtown Plaza and Rahway Avenue — where photographs may be taken.
For more information about plans for the memorial, or to share any information or memorabilia about the Medal of Honor recipients, call the Union County Office of Veterans Affairs at 908-659-7407 or contact Elizabeth Sebring at 908-527-4890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.