A special Doo Wop concert, part of the Scotch Plains Summer Concert series and sponsored by John's Meat Market, will take place on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. to fundraise for the town's planned Vietnam Memorial.
“We are really excited by this,” said Vincent Losavio, owner of John’s Meat Market. “We have been planning this for some time, we have contacted many Vietnam Vet organizations and we may have to close off the street to accommodate the crowd.”
The doo wop tunes will be performed by Middletown band the Jersey Jukebox.
“We want to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a great night; there will be great things to eat, face-painting, great music and of course, an honor guard to give homage to the service men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives,” said Losavio.Scotch Plains Zoning Officer Bob LaCosta, along with the help of other local veterans, is spearheading efforts behind the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, to be built in front of the Scotch Plains municipal building.
LaCosta, a Vietnam veteran himself, says the memorial represents a long overdue thank you to those who served.
"I think it will be a very nice tribute to the veterans who served in Vietnam, which was obviously not a very popular war," LaCosta told Patch. "When they came home, it wasn't the kind of homecoming that a lot of veterans received from other wars. It’s really about time."
The memorial will include a bronze casting of the "Remembrance of a Fallen Soldier" traditional gun, boots and helmet symbol. It will also include paving bricks that can be purchased and inscribed. LaCosta expects that the entire memorial will cost about $20,000.
LaCosta served as grand marshall in Scotch Plain's 2012 Memorial Day parade, agreeing on the condition that he accept the honor on behalf of all Vietnam veterans. LaCosta was assigned to Vietnam in 1969 to the 165th Combat Aviation Group headquartered in Long Binh.
"The Vietnam war is unique as the first television war for the passions and oppositions which the living room images aroused," said LaCosta in his grand marshall speech. "Images that where brought into your living rooms, on a daily basis, the look of war was on every one of those young faces. A war longer than all previous major wars of the century combined, bloodier than any in terms of the small arena involved. Answers are still being sought in the field of psychiatry because there were none on the field of battle."
A letter seeking donations for the memorial was mailed to residents. Donations can be made to the Township of Scotch Plains, Vietnam Memorial, attention Bob LaCosta. All donations are tax deductible.
"We really think it's going to be something everyone can be proud of town can be proud of place of honor for a very, very long time," said LaCosta. "The time has finally come."