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July/August 2017
Rochester, New York, Chapter 20:
Custodians of the Rochester Memorial

Photos: Glenn Peck

© Xande AndererEvery May for many years, members of Rochester, New York, Chapter 20 have organized a Day of Caring at the 2.5-acre, one-of-a-kind Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester in Highland Park.
“We do it every year before the big Lilac Festival,” said Chuck Macaluso, president of the Memorial and a longtime chapter member.

“We always get a good group of chapter members and volunteers from the community. This year we had about seventy-five people doing things like re-mulching and cleaning out weeds. By the time we finish, the memorial looks pristine.”

Photos: Glenn PeckBarry Clifford spearheaded the first committee formed to build a Rochester memorial. When progress slowed to a crawl, Chapter 20 members Barry Culhane and Max Lill took over the reins in 1986. The next year an all-volunteer board made up mainly of chapter members, including former Chapter President Ken Moore, was formed and began lobbying local officials. In 1990 the county agreed to provide the land for the memorial in the 150-acre Highland Park, which was designed in 1888 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the pioneering landscape architect best known for creating New York City’s Central Park and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Photos: Glenn PeckThe board then held many fundraising events. Ground was broken in 1992, and the memorial dedicated on September 8, 1996. Among its many features are bollards honoring the 280 men from the Rochester area who died in Vietnam, as well as informational stones carved with tributes to—among others—POW/MIAs, homeless veterans, women in war, and Vietnam veterans who later died as a result of their service in the war. A grove of 3,401 trees honors the nation’s Medal of Honor recipients.

The most recent addition to the $1.5 million memorial was the Veterans’ Walk. Macaluso came up with the idea in 2000, and the Walk was dedicated on August 14, 2004. Veterans are honored with engraved paver bricks embedded in a walkway that stretches from the parking lot to the memorial’s entrance.

“We have about 750 bricks,” Macaluso said, “honoring veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the War on Terror for their service to our country.”

Active-duty service members and all U.S. military veterans are eligible to purchase a brick from the chapter. More information can be found here.

Photos: Glenn Peck




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-Sibling Ceremony: Barry County (Missouri) Chapter 1023

-Barney’s Destroyer:
Col. “Barney” Barnum honored
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