Memorial Day Event at Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Soldiers and Sailors Monument Riverside Drive

c/o NYPL Digital Collections

In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt laid the first stone at the site of what would become the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive. Two years later — on Decoration Day in 1902, now known as Memorial Day — the monument was dedicated to Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the American Civil War. On Monday at 10 a.m., a Memorial Day event is planned in conjunction with Fleet Week to honor our nation’s military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.


The U.S. Marine Corps Band will begin with a musical prelude, followed by a processional with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Veteran Corps of Artillery at 10:30 a.m. The Graphics Campus Navy Junior ROTC Color Guard will conduct the Posting of the Colors, followed by the National Anthem by the USMC Band.

Several local political leaders — including City Council Member Gale Brewer, State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Rep. Jerry Nadler — will be in attendance as guest speakers. The keynote address was written by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and will be delivered by Neil Berson, a board member of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Association. Commander Scott F. Robertson, who currently leads the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, will also speak.

Wreaths will be laid in memory of all who’ve given their lives for their country. Laments will be performed by the New York Caledonian Club Pipe Band before a moment of silence. Closing remarks will be made by Association President Peter Galasinao. The USMC Band will close with a recessional.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument has fallen into disrepair and is currently fenced off to the public. We asked the Association if there was a fundraising link we could include and were told that “At the moment, due [to] the huge amount of money that would have to be raised and the costs associated with trying to raise that money from private donors, there is no private fundraising going on. We are hoping that public funds for this public monument will be provided for the needed restoration.”


With expected increases in costs of construction and restoration projects around the city, the Association currently estimates it will now likely exceed the $30 million we reported last year to repair the beloved monument. They told us it could possibly even exceed $35 million for a full restoration.

The issues facing the monument stem largely in part to “all kinds of weather conditions over the years,” according to the Association, which went on to detail how “motor joints have failed, causing rainwater to seep into the joints, which, in turn, caused structural damage. There is cracked stonework, surface erosion, the weakening of prior repairs, granite has been loosened and is crumbling, etc.”

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was designated a New York City landmark in 1976. In 2001, New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the monument a state landmark.

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  1. Walker Jones May 30, 2022
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