At the southeast corner of De Witt Clinton Park, at 11th Ave and 52nd St in New York City, stands a bronze doughboy holding poppies in his right hand and a rifle slung over his shoulder. The front of the granite pedestal is inscribed with the closing verse from John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Field.
The statue is dedicated “by comrades and friends under the auspices of Clinton District Monument Association as a memorial to the young folk of this neighborhood who gave their all in the world war.” According to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, this is one of nine doughboy statues erected in NYC city parks.
The monument is the work of sculptor Burt Johnson and architect Harvey Wiley Corbett. It was to be dedicated on Armistice Day in November 1929, but was delayed until June 8, 1930. While several accounts indicate Armistice Day 1929 inscribed on the pedestal as the dedication date, my photos clearly show Memorial Day 1930. Was the pedestal replaced and the date corrected at some point? The monument was initially on the west side of the park overlooking 12th Ave, but moved to its current location sometime between 1932 and 1935 to accommodate highway construction. It was refurbished in 1997 and the planting bed was added in 2009.
US Memorial Day commemorates those who died in military service. The Representative of the Government of Flanders to the US holds a ceremony at the Clinton War Memorial on Memorial Day weekend.
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