One of the caged POW sculptures.

POW-MIA-9/11 Memorial (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

White Lake, New York

This memorial fuses Vietnam M.I.A.s with 9/11 World Trade Center firefighter casualties, and seems out of place in the otherwise good-vibrations Woodstock Zone of southern New York. Erected in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, it was the idea of a local retired Marine/New York City cop named Zack Zacarey. He owned the land and hired a Vermont chain saw sculptor to do the work.

At the entrance, two 12-foot-tall, camo-clad P.O.W.s -- circa 1970 -- reach imploringly through the bamboo bars and barbed wire of their tiger cages. Between them, forming an arch, is an awkwardly-carved bald eagle with outstretched wings. The eagle at one time held an American flag in its talons, but its feet have fallen off.

Entrance and POW cages.

Beyond the arch is a roadbed, now half-crumbled, where two towering NYC firefighters recreate the flag-raising-on-the-rubble moment at the World Trade Center. The flagpole, however, has fallen over, severing the arm of one of the firefighters. The pole lies against a fire engine whose windshield has been smashed.

Lack of upkeep and possibly bad stress-point design has quickly aged this odd mix of hope and victimization. Wood is splitting, paint is peeling. Weeds are everywhere, half-obscuring the granite slab that reads, "In Memory of P.O.W's and M.I.A's, We Will Never Stop Looking."

Perhaps the placement of this memorial was intentional. "This is what the sixties wrought," it seems to say. "The hippies down the road at the Woodstock Monument would rather have gotten stoned with the Cong than help the poor M.I.A.s."

9-11 Firefighter sculptures.

We appreciate this visceral jumble, compared to dull, by-committee monuments. Sadly this one is too quickly returning to the jungle. Zacarey has moved out of state, ending construction, and although the local Marine Corps League commandant has vowed to restore the memorial, its message isn't likely to get any cheerier.

POW-MIA-9/11 Memorial

Directions:
On Hwy 17B, north side, 9 miles east of Fosterdale, or 6 miles west of Hwy 17 exit 104. On the west side of a gas station, at the intersection of Pine Grove Rd.
Hours:
2009? - Torched by vandals
Status:
Gone

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