Navy – Merchant Marine Memorial

Coordinates: 38°52′34″N 77°2′50″W / 38.87611°N 77.04722°W / 38.87611; -77.04722
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial on Columbia Island in Washington, D.C.
Detail of the memorial

The Navy – Merchant Marine Memorial, located in Lady Bird Johnson Park on Columbia Island in Washington, D.C., is a monument honoring sailors of the United States Navy, Coast Guard, the United States Merchant Marine, the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and others who died at sea during World War I and other times.


The memorial was designed in 1922 by Harvey Wiley Corbett. It was sculpted by Ernesto Begni del Piatta, who died before it could be completed.[1] It was cast in a foundry in Cleveland. The ground was broken on the memorial in 1930, with the foundation completed the following year and it was installed on October 18, 1934, but work on the base and landscaping was postponed due to lack of funding.[2][3][4]

A dedication ceremony was held on May 30, 1935.[5] Funding was approved by Congress to finish the memorial in 1939. Work began anew the following September, and was completed by the end of 1939.[6]

Nicknamed "Waves and Gulls," the memorial depicts seven seagulls above the crest of a wave. It is cast from aluminum and the base is made of green granite from New Hampshire. The base was originally concrete but replaced by the Works Progress Administration. It stands 35 feet (10.6 m) tall and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide. It is the first aluminum memorial in Washington, D.C.

The memorial reads:

To the strong souls and ready valor of those men of the United States who in the Navy, the Merchant Marine, and other paths of Activity upon the waters of the world have given life or still offer it in the performance of heroic deeds this monument is dedicated by a grateful people.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sculptor Dies Grieving Over Unfinished Memorial". The Washington Post. 24 December 1939.
  2. ^ "WPA Funds Sought For Sea Memorial". The Washington Post. 10 May 1936.
  3. ^ "Marine Memorial Dedication Put Off". The Washington Post. 27 October 1934.
  4. ^ "Years Pass as Capital 'Forgets' Unfinished Navy Marine Shaft". The Washington Post. 6 November 1938.
  5. ^ "Marine Memorial Dedication Soon". The Evening Star. 21 May 1935.
  6. ^ "Final Work to Begin On Marine Memorial". The Washington Post. 7 September 1940.

External links[edit]

38°52′34″N 77°2′50″W / 38.87611°N 77.04722°W / 38.87611; -77.04722