Family members of the two men who put Roswell on the map as a center of UFOlogy said they believed their loved ones would be proud to have their names enshrined as the first names on the city’s Star Walk of Fame.
The first bronze markers in the sidewalk of Pioneer Plaza along North Main Street feature the names of Stanton Friedman and Jesse Marcel Sr.
Marcel, a major in the U.S. Air Force, was an intelligence officer who investigated the crash of an object near Corona in July 1947 and authorized the press release delivered to the Roswell Daily Record and Roswell Dispatch stating a “flying saucer” had been found. Marcel died in 1986 at the age of 79.
Nuclear physicist and UFO researcher Friedman learned of Marcel in 1978 and interviewed him, bringing his story to the public for the first time. Friedman died in 2019 at the age of 84.
Mayor Tim Jennings said the two men had a great effect on Roswell.
“I think it’s really fantastic to honor these two individuals because they probably did more to create the greatest tourism event in the state of New Mexico,” he said.
Melissa and Rachel Friedman said their father would be honored and humbled.
“He would be absolutely thrilled,” Melissa Friedman said.
“He traveled the country, traveled North America and traveled the world, many different countries, and he always made a point to get to Roswell. He loved Roswell, loved coming here,” she said.
Melissa Friedman said after the ceremony that her father would also be pleased to see the tourism that has sprung up around the UFO incident.
“He wanted to see small cities thrive. He would think it’s nice to see Roswell has embraced the whole UFO theme,” she said.
Jesse Marcel III said his grandfather was a private person but was also proud of his association with Roswell.
“Toward the end of his life, he thought he was one of the luckiest people alive, that he was the right person in the right place. He was the person they picked to go out there,” Marcel said.
“Thinking that he had a part of starting what’s going on now, I would say he’d be very proud of this and thinking that he had a small part in elevating people’s ideas about the idea of life in the universe and that we’re not alone,” he said.
According to a city of Roswell press release, as more inductees are added to the Star Walk of Fame, the bronze markers will proceed south on the sidewalk along Main Street toward the International UFO Museum and Research Center about three blocks away.
The markers were constructed and placed by Abraham Construction, Albuquerque, which donated its costs to the city, City Engineer Louis Najar said.