MALDEN – Eternally honoring Malden’s greatest generation, more than a thousand past and present Maldonians crowded into Bell Rock Memorial Park to witness the unveiling of an updated World War II Memorial two summers ago.
Today, the Memorial still attracts residents from across the city and state, serving as a symbol of the community’s appreciation for the sacrifices these and all soldiers have made to protect and preserve freedom for all.
The park’s original archway was dedicated in 1953 to memorialize the city’s ward-one residents who served in World War II. Planning for the updated memorial began in 2000, and was completed in 2010.
Former Mayor Richard C. Howard and current Mayor Gary Christenson were driving forces behind the monument’s transformation, both making personal commitments to seeing the project through its completion.
The Friends of Bell Rock Memorial Park, a non-profit group created in the mid-1990s by former ward-one councilor Eleanor Cushing, also contributed to the project.
The new memorial includes 8,139 names in alphabetical order on ten bronze plaques, six on both sides of the three granite stones as well as four on the archway. All names were gathered using veterans and military records as well as information submitted by number of local historians through their contact with the Mayor’s office.
Bronze stars appear next to the names of the 239 residents who were killed in action during the conflict while the words ‘ward one’ have been inscribed next to the 700 residents listed on the original monument. Three additional freestanding granite structures had to be added in order to memorialize all Maldonians who served in World War II.
Historic quotations appear at the top of each bronze panel including notable remarks from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General Douglas MacArthur and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The renovation project totaled nearly $350,000, and was funded through both public financing and private donations.