Protectors of Freedom, created by Brian Hanlon, classically trained master sculptor and founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio, was unveiled on June 26, 2017 at Bey Lea Park in Toms River.
The monument, reflecting every conflict from 1917 to today, is depicted through six, eight-foot bronze sculptures, including a woman nurse serving in the Vietnam War. With figures representing World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Middle East, this exceptional work will touch the hearts and souls of multiple generations.
Veterans and esteemed military members from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst were in attendance and unveiled each of the six sculptures along with Congressman Chris Smith and Congressman Tom MacArthur. With one of the largest population of veterans in the state, Toms River was the natural choice for the home of Protectors of Freedom. This monument is dedicated to the courageous men and women who have given their all in the defense of mankind. For all those who served and lost their lives, and the survivors who returned carrying the scars of war as medals of honor, this memorial stands as an acknowledgment of their selfless benevolence.
The monument, funded by the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation with the land and facilities provided by Toms River Township, is a tribute to the heroism of each and every soldier. Jay Grunin, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation said, “It is a great honor and privilege for our Foundation to be able to underwrite this wonderful and deserving tribute to the millions of men and women who have served in our Armed Forces over the past century and have helped keep our world safe and prosperous.”
The honorary vision and design was sculpted in striking bronze by world-renowned artist and Toms River native, Brian Hanlon. Hanlon said, “It’s extremely rewarding to be able to honor and commend bravery and sacrifice through art with each sculpture in my hometown. This tribute and memorial represents such tremendous stories of each generation of war in such simplicity.”
Toms River Township Mayor, Thomas F. Kelaher, was also in attendance at the event said, “What a wonderful way for Toms River to show its appreciation to all of the men and women who have served our country. This is something all Americans can stand behind.”
To read more about Protectors of Freedom, please click here: Protectors of Freedom Media Coverage
Watch a beautiful tribute video on the Protectors of Freedom monument created by Tom DeAngelis of The Production House, LLC.