OLYPHANT, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A long-awaited veteran’s memorial park in Olyphant was unveiled on Saturday, just in time for veterans day.
It was a day many have waited for in Olyphant, the unveiling of a statue to honor our nation’s veterans. The 21st Century Desert Soldier Statue is now on display in the Olyphant Borough Freedom Fighter Veterans Memorial Park
A decades-long project in Olyphant has finally been revealed, a special memorial to honor our modern-day soldiers and veterans of all eras. The project has been in the works since September 11th, 2017.
Local artist, Mark Zinskie, created the statue out of stainless steel. The original creation was made out of a variety of things, namely garbage.
“I said what do you mean garbage? He said there’s tin cans, glass jars in it, chicken wire, spray foam, even chicken bones,” said Kim Onda Atkinson, the chairperson and coordinator of the Freedom Fighter Veterans Memorial Park.
Zinskie then recreated the statue for the borough out of stainless steel.
The description at the bottom of the statue was unveiled today it reads, “The land of the free because of the brave,” and local veterans are proud to be honored this way in the community.
“All veterans need some recognition somehow, and this is a fantastic way of doing it. Look at the turnout, this has got to mean something to the community,” said Larry Boyarsky, sergeant of the 2nd Infantry Division, 68-69.
It means just as much to those who are currently serving our country.
“I grew up two miles from here, so it’s very nice to see the community dedicate something to those members of the armed forces that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Ian Walsh, first lieutenant.
And the city of Olyphant strives to honor its veterans time and time again.
“Nobody stops working for veterans in this area, it just doesn’t stop and I’ll never forget that as long as I live,” Judge Thomas Munley, a retired Vietnam Veteran, told Eyewitness News.
The community is urged to use this space as a sacred place to remember those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom and honor those who continue to fight.
“I’m gonna come visit this place a lot because this is a sacred place, it’s a place where we should all go,” Judge Munley explained.
The desert soldier now stands tall with pride for the entire community.
“Olyphant is known as the queen city, so we’re gonna put a jewel in the crown of the queen city today in honor of our veterans,” said Onda Atkinson.
The Freedom Fighter Veterans Memorial Park is located at the Olyphant Borough Building and all are welcome to stop by.