Kids playing on the newest softball fields in Toms River are probably unaware that they're frolicking on land with ties to the township's past and America's defense of liberty.

Dedication of the fields in the 26-acre Toms River Veterans Recreation Complex on North Bay Avenue took place Saturday, led by Mayor Thomas Kelaher, Township Council President Maurice Hill and Township Clerk and Historian J. Mark Mutter.

Mutter and Rabbi Ellen Wolintz-Fields discussed the turf's hallowed past. It was known as the Epstein and Frankenburg farms, one of the township's last active poultry farms.

The Pleasant Plains section in which it sits was home to many such farms, a large number of which were owned and operated by Jewish farmers who settled in Toms River after fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The gazebo in the center of the complex now houses a special memorial.  The softball complex encases four fields, t-ball field, tot lot, walking and biking trail, playground and concession stand.