A forgotten war memorial in Madison Square Park honors the “glorious dead”

New York is a time capsule of war memorials. Solemn doughboy statues, heavy bronze plaques inscribed with names, and dramatic sculptures personifying courage and mortality honor all the city residents over the years who lost their lives in combat.

Some of these memorials are so inconspicuous, they’ve been pretty much forgotten. Case in point is this simple metal plaque on a concrete plinth in Madison Square Park honoring America’s “glorious dead.”

Located on the east side of the Park at about 25th Street, the plaque is partially hidden by fallen leaves from the tree planted at the same time it was installed.

The organization responsible for the tree and plaque is the Young Australia League—a group formed in 1906 in Perth as a soccer league that embraced Australian patriotism and pride. In March 1929, a group of 159 young Australians from the YAL came to New York City as part of a “sightseeing and goodwill” trip of the United States, according to this Brooklyn newspaper article.

Strangely, the marker doesn’t specify who the glorious dead are. But since the plaque came to the park in 1929, the intent was likely to honor the 116,708 American military personnel who perished from any cause during the Great War.

Though small and hard to find, the plaque is in good company in Madison Square Park. The Admiral Farragut statue, honoring the Union Army leader of “damn the torpedoes…full speed ahead” fame, sits inside the northwest corner of the park.

And the military grave site and 51-foot obelisk memorial to General William Jenkins Worth—who died during the Mexican-American War in 1849—rises nearby at Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 25th Street.

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5 Responses to “A forgotten war memorial in Madison Square Park honors the “glorious dead””

  1. MizScarlettNY Says:

    I feel sure that someone at the Museum of The City of New York might be able to identify it further.

  2. andrewalpern Says:

    Isn’t there still in place at the 23rd Street side of the Park the illuminated star that used to be atop the since-replaced flagpole that was also a memorial to the dead of World War I

  3. Buzz Says:

    The Eternal Light Flagpole is still there, and was refurbished fairly recently. There’s a nice overview at https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/madison-square-park/monuments/961

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