10 Memorials in JC to Visit this Memorial Day
For many, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. This time it looks a lot different than what we’re used to but it’s still an exciting season nonetheless. Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May each year and serves as a day of honor and remembrance of all those who have fallen while serving in the United States Military. Here is a list of 10 memorials in Jersey City you can visit, or read more about, to honor the lives of the men and women who fought for this country.
1. Civil War Memorial: Lincoln Park
Striding with a Springfield rifle in his hand, this bronze soldier in Jersey City’s Lincoln Park commemorates “the soldiers of Jersey City who fought in the War of the Rebellion.” It was funded primarily through the largesse of Edward J. Donnelly, a sergeant in the 5th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, who saw action in the Siege of Petersburg before returning home to Jersey City in 1864.
2. America Triumphant Monument: Pershing Field Park
The park is named for World War I hero General John J. Pershing and was used as a World War I military training ground. The monument honors the 147 soldiers from Jersey City who perished in the war. The memorial is a life-size bronze figure of a woman, her arms filled with laurels.
3. Memorial Triangle: India Square
Originally located on the triangle of the Newark Ave and Kennedy Boulevard intersection, the statue and its plaque are all that remain of Memorial Triangle. It honors the “memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in all wars of our country.” A bronze eagle was crafted and mounted on top of the war memorial, but some years ago, the eagle sculpture was lifted clean off the pedestal. When the turn was created at that intersection, the sculpture was relocated to its current location, outside of India Square nearest Apna Bazar Cash and Carry.
4. Purple Heart Memorial: Journal Square
Unveiled on August 7, 2004, the Purple Heart Memorial honors the recipients of the nation’s oldest military decoration. It is located on the island across from Wells Fargo in Journal Square. The memorial was drafted by Bona-Fide Memorials of Jersey City and then constructed in Vermont. Another plaque lies on the opposite side, next to the flagpole.
5. Dough Boy: Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park
Along Kennedy Blvd. high atop the hill of Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park, is a silent sentinel watching over the heights. This bronze watchman, eternally on patrol, commemorates the fallen of the First World War. On November 9, 1930, the Hudson City Soldiers and Sailors Welfare League, Inc. placed this World War I memorial statue simply called “Dough Boy” in the park.
6. Sipnick Memorial: Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park
Also at Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park is the Sipnick memorial installed by the Jewish War Veterans Association. Raymond Sipnick was a Jersey City resident and soldier who fought and died during World War II. There was also an American eagle atop a granite shaft but was stolen in 1974 and has been missing since. Today only the bronze plaque exists. Ann Blaustein, 94, was a childhood friend of Sipnick and continues to lead efforts to raise money and address awareness to replace the missing piece.
7. Lt. Robert P. Grover Memorial Park: Broadman Parkway and JFK Boulevard
The Lieutenant Robert P. Grover Memorial Park is one of numerous municipal “pocket” parks which can be found throughout the city. Slightly less than one hundred sq. feet, Lt. Grover Park’s main feature is the memorial built to honor the memory of Lieutenant Robert P. Grover, the first Jewish serviceman from Jersey City to die in combat during World War II. In 2016, Stephen Wagner came to learn he was the great-nephew of Lt. Grover and set out with his family to host a cleanup of the park each year before Veteran’s Day. Check out our article on his yearly cleanup!
8. Jersey City Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Pershing Field Park
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Pershing Field Memorial Park on Memorial Day, May 25, 2001. Nearly 70 Jersey City residents died while serving in Vietnam. Pershing Field Memorial Park is somewhat of a memorial itself as it was dedicated in 1923 to commemorate the soldiers from Jersey City lost during World War I. Named for World War I hero General John J. Pershing, the site was previously used as a World War I military training ground.
9. Korean War Memorial: Liberty State Park
The Hudson County Korean War Memorial, located at the Morris Canal Section of Liberty State Park was erected in 2001.This memorial honors the approximately 130 soldiers from Hudson County who served during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 with their names inscripted. The memorial was vandalized in 2014, but the province of Gyeonggi in South Korea donated $100,000 to Jersey City that year on Veterans Day for the monument to be repaired and improved. The donation is a symbol of the camaraderie shared between U.S. veterans and South Korea, a country that American soldiers barely knew but still defended during the 1950-53 war.
10. Liberation Memorial: Liberty State Park
Nathan Rapoport’s memorial to the Holocaust, was cast in 1984 and dedicated in Liberty State Park on May 30, 1985. The oversized bronze figural group depicts an American soldier carrying World War II Jewish concentration camp survivor. The sculpture is dedicated to the role of the United States in preserving freedom and rescuing the oppressed.