The National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH), in coordination with the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority and the Steelworkers Veterans Memorial Committee, has announced that the Steelworkers Veterans Memorial, currently located at Third and Polk Streets, will relocate a short distance away to a newly developed area of the museum’s plaza.
The move comes as the Bethlehem Parking Authority has taken ownership of the memorial’s current site which is being developed into a mixed-use 585-space parking deck anchored by retail space. The announcement coincides with Bethlehem’s Redevelopment Authority receiving a $25,000 Local Shared Account grant from Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Financing Authority to aid in the relocation of the monument to its new home at NMIH.
The memorial, which was originally dedicated in May 1989 by then Bethlehem Steel CEO Walt Williams, began as an idea from a veterans committee within company. What was supposed to be a small plaque became a more substantial undertaking under the visage of the late Raymond F. Rosati, Jr., a Bethlehem Steel millwright from Hellertown. Mr. Rosati, a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran, designed the memorial which was built with the aid of plant personnel and machine shops, and constructed in the shipping yard maintenance shop. With plaques added in later years through grants procured by the late Rep. William C. Rybak, the monument serves as a testament to the workers and veterans of the nation’s steel mills.
“The nation is full of veterans throughout history who not only fought to protect our country but worked in the nation’s steel mills during and after their service,” said Mayor Robert Donchez. “Their dedication to serving and building our country deserves an appropriate place in history, and I can think of no better place to honor them than at the National Museum of Industrial History.”
“We are honored to give these heroes a rightful place in history at the museum,” said Kara Mohsinger, President and CEO of NMIH. “We will continue to preserve the history and honor the steelworkers who fought for our country while carrying out Mr. Rosati’s vision for this memorial.”
Groundbreaking for the museum’s new plaza is expected to begin later this year with the memorial to be relocated thereafter.