While most attention is on commemoration services on both sides of the English Channel and the stories of survivors, you can honor the service of the Greatest Generation in NYC, and reflect on the cost of war.
Here’s where and how:
This outdoor memorial is a series of tall marble slabs embedded with the name, rank and serial number of the thousands of New York City men and women who gave their lives in WWII.
“Facing the Statue of Liberty across New York harbor, the East Coast Memorial is located at the southern end of Battery Park.
This memorial honors the 4,601 missing American servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean while engaged in combat during World War II.
Designed by the architectural firm of Gehron and Seltzer, the monument consists of a large, paved plaza punctuated by eight massive 19-foot tall gray granite pylons (four each on the southern and northern sides) onto which are inscribed the names, rank, organization and state of each of the deceased.
On the eastern side of the plaza a monumental bronze eagle, sculpted by Albino Manca (1898–1976) and set on a pedestal of polished black granite, grips a laurel wreath over a wave–signifying the act of mourning at the watery grave.
The monument was commissioned by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a small independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, and was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) on May 23, 1963.”
- Open daily, the same hours as Battery Park.
The official name is WWII Memorial in Cadman Plaza.
It is Brooklyn’s only borough-wide monument honoring the 327,000 American men and women from Brooklyn who served in uniform in World War II
“This granite and limestone memorial in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza is dedicated to the more than 300,000 “heroic men and women of the borough of Brooklyn” who served in World War II. Inside are displayed approximately 11,500 names of Brooklyn service members who died during the war.
The memorial was designed by Stuart Constable, Gilmore D. Clarke, and W. Earle Andrews, who worked with the architectural firm of Eggers and Higgins. The two larger-than-life sized high relief figures by sculptor Charles Keck (1875–1951) depict a male warrior on the left and a female with a child to the right, and serve as symbols of victory and family.
The idea for a large-scale borough monument arose from Parks Commissioner Robert Moses’s (1888–1981) desire to create unified World War II monuments for each borough in an effort to avoid the situation that arose after World War I when many far flung, locally-inspired, individual pieces were erected throughout the city’s parks. In the end, Brooklyn was the only borough to build such a monument.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the day U.S. forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, Brooklyn Eagle publisher Frank D. Schroth formed a committee of distinguished Brooklynites to judge a design competition. The Eagle announced the competition in June, soliciting proposals from a wide array of people.
When the contest closed on April 1, 1945—before VE (Victory in Europe) Day—over 243 entries were received.
The winning plan featured a central auditorium flanked by two wings built entirely of granite. Construction of the memorial began just after Japan surrendered in August 1945. An old elevated subway station occupying a portion of Cadman Plaza was removed, as additional improvements were made to the surrounding park and streets in the burgeoning Brooklyn Civic Center area.
The memorial was dedicated on November 12, 1951 at an elaborate ceremony attended by elected officials and veterans groups. Though there were some 3,500 contributors, mainly from local businesses to the public subscription, the full plan was never realized due to a lack of funding.
The scaled-back version of the memorial consists of a memorial hall with an honor roll listing the names of those who died serving during the war.
The memorial was intended to be part of a larger plan to revitalize this area of Brooklyn, which included the Brooklyn Civic Center building, new municipal facilities, and expanded housing opportunities.”
That’s the name of a massive exhibit of more than 1,000 artifacts and photos from more than 20 countries, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a few blocks from the WWII Memorial in Battery Park.
Here’s more from my recent visit to the exhibit
More than one million innocent souls were murdered in Auschwitz, including more than 250,000 children, in a twisted government policy of racism and anti-Semitism that was defeated by the men and women honored at the WWII Memorial, and many thousands of other men and women from the allied nations that fought alongside us and for the same reasons.
There are cases of shoes, eyeglasses, shaving brushes, pots and pans – everyday items collected from those condemned to die.
And suitcases, some of them clearly marked with the name and address of the owner, who expected to claim it at the end of a forced trip in a crowded boxcar, like the one on display at the entrance to the museum.
There is a torah saved from Kristallnacht, and smuggled into the US in 1940 by a Holocaust survivor. It’s from the Borneplatz Synagogue in Hamburg, which was largest in Northern Europe until the Nazis tore it down. And gas masks worn by Nazi guards. And children’s clothing, handwritten letters of pain and suffering, and hundreds of photos of normal life before the madness.
Seeing it on the anniversary of D-Day will remind you about the reason for D-Day.
The exhibit is open through the end of 2019.