The Niagara County Legislature voted Tuesday to allocate up to $100,000 for the construction of a new Purple Heart monument on the grounds of the Niagara County Courthouse in Lockport. The vote endorsed the recommendations of an ad hoc committee that was formed earlier this year to come up with a design and a location to honor Niagara County’s Purple Heart recipients.
The Purple Heart is awarded to service members who have been wounded or killed as a result of any enemy action. Niagara County is a Purple Heart county, and has a book that lists the name of every county resident known to have been awarded a Purple Heart. This Sunday, Aug. 7, is celebrated as Purple Heart Day across the U.S.
“I am so grateful for the work of our committee, as I think we have come up with the proper way to ensure the sacrifices made by Purple Heart recipients are never forgotten,” said Legislator David Godfrey, a Vietnam veteran who served as chairman of the committee. “The unanimous vote of the legislature to allocate these funds is the perfect way to celebrate Purple Heart Day this Sunday.”
The design calls for the creation of a courtyard with the monument centrally located. There will be numerous access points tied into existing sidewalks and benches for visitors. The entire greenspace courtyard design is actually heart-shaped, in honor of the Purple Heart.
Members of the Niagara County Legislature and County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski were joined by the committee, as well as members of the Purple Heart Chapter of Niagara County, to raise the Purple Heart flag outside the Niagara County Courthouse before the vote. Ron Krul, president of the chapter, presented a plaque to Jastrzemski to be displayed in the rotunda of the Niagara County Courthouse alongside the Purple Heart book.
“Locating this monument at the courthouse was the perfect choice as it is also home to our Veterans Service Agency, so those who are coming to the VSA for assistance can spend some time in the new courtyard,” Jastrzemski said. “It will also be the proper location for future Purple Heart ceremonies.”
Jastrzemski said there are currently 367 known Purple Heart recipients in the book, but additional names continue to be identified – most often by family members of deceased veterans. Any Purple Heart recipient who has ever lived in Niagara County is eligible for inclusion.
Jastrzemski encouraged anyone who knows of a Purple Heart recipient to call the county clerk’s office at 716-439-7022 to learn about having them added.