MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Middletown Township today announced that its Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a rededication ceremony on Saturday, November 4th for the Township’s newly-restored World War I Doughboy Monument on Church Street in Belford. This ceremony will directly follow the Compton Street Sign Dedication at 12:30 p.m., honoring Harold M. Compton. Compton served as a U.S. Army solider in World War 1 and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country in the conflict.
Harold Compton was one of three Belford residents who did not return home from this battle. His brother, Elmer Compton, later donated property in Belford which now serves as the location of the Township’s WW1 Doughboy Monument. “The Compton Street Sign Dedication will honor Harold’s memory and pay homage to his sacrifice,” said Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D., an archaeologist and long-time member of the Township’s Landmarks Commission.
This year commemorates the Centennial Anniversary of World War I and the restoration of the Doughboy Monument. “Restoring this monument to its former glory is a way to salute the several dozen WWI veterans from Belford, Port Monmouth, and New Monmouth,” said Mayor Scharfenberger. “We hope that Middletown residents will come out on Saturday to honor Harold Compton’s memory as well as all of our veterans who sacrificed so much for us.”
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The Doughboy Monument, originally sculpted in the 1920’s, was erected to honor those who fought in WW1. The base of the monument lists the names of Middletown residents who served in the conflict. When the Veterans Affairs Committee informed the Township Committee of the significant damage the monument has sustained over the years, they then commissioned Master Stone Carver, Franco Minervini, to restore the monument this past summer.
Middletown Township thanks both the American Legion Post 338 and the Friends of the Veterans Affairs Committee for their generous donations which, along with funds from the 2016 capital budget, helped make the restoration possible. The Doughboy Monument will now continue to remind and inspire future generations of the bravery and selflessness of Middletown veterans who served in WW1.
Compton Street Sign Dedication and Doughboy Monument Rededication Ceremony details:
Date: Saturday, November 4th
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Location: Compton Street Sign Dedication at the corner of Church Street in Belford, followed by the Doughboy Monument Rededication located at Church Street.
The veterans’ families, neighbors residing on the street to be dedicated, and the general public are invited to attend. The street sign dedication will include a color guard and the playing of taps. The Doughboy Monument Rededication will include a posting of colors and raising of flags, an invocation, remarks from Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Dennis Beauregard and Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, as well as a wreath dedication and reading of the names. There will also be a bag piper and “Taps” will be played.
As part of the Township’s Fallen Veterans Commemorative Street Sign Program, more than 50 signs have been added Township-wide to pay tribute to Middletown veterans who were killed in action from World War I to present. The commemorative sign includes the soldier’s full name, an American flag, branch of service, campaign served, and a gold star representing the gold star mother and family. The program is managed by the all-volunteer Veterans Affairs Committee with support from the Public Works Department.
Other memorial/monument heritage sites around Middletown include the World War II Memorial located on Leonardville Road at Croydon Hall, the Korean War Memorial on Wilson Avenue, and the Vietnam Veterans Monument on Harkins Drive off Palmer Avenue.
As part of the Honorary Veterans Parking Program, the Township has also designated parking spaces for veterans at Town Hall, the Middletown Township Public Library, and Poricy Park.