The Merchant Marine monument is meant to initiate a greater public understanding of those who delivered materials across every ocean during the most difficult and dangerous of times.
The Merchant Marine lost a higher percentage of its members than any branch of military service during World War II. Merchant Mariners were responsible for providing supplies to the troops during the war including everything from tanks and ammunition to food and medical supplies.
Over 1,500 U.S. ships were sunk in World War II. These men suffered the highest U.S. casualty rate of the war, with one in every 26 dying. The U.S. Marine Corps was next, with one of every 34 dying. Most mariner dead were blown to death, incinerated, froze or starved to death in prison camps.
Over 12,000 were wounded and 700 were prisoners of war.
Of the 250,000 Merchant Mariners who served, many were too young for the armed forces, too old, or declared physically unfit. Many had one eye, one leg, yet honored the call to serve their nation.
Veteran status was never granted until 1988 by Congress, even though more than 500 Merchant mariners are buried in our national cemeteries in the fields of France.
The monument was dedicated on August 15, 2010 and was one of the first in the state dedicated to the men and women who served with the Merchant Marine.