The area bordered by O'Donnell Parkway, Atlantic Avenue, and Providence Avenue hosts a number of war memorials. This area is variously known by the names Chelsea Park, O'Donnell Park, and All Wars Memorial Park.
The Civil War Soilders & Sailors Monument in O'Donnell Park
The first war memorial to grace this area was the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors Monument, erected in 1916 through donation funds. The City contributed $1,500 of the $6,000 cost of the monument. Its style and location were chosen as an aesthetic landmark to welcome travelers arriving at the nearby terminus of the Black Horse Pike into the city. The nearby Greek Temple Monument War Memorial was built a few years later with the same purpose. More information about the Greek Temple Monument can be found here.
Although the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument only mentions those who gave their lives in the Civil War on the monument itself, the monument was also meant to recognize casualties of the Spanish-American War as well. The four figures which stand at the base of the monument face the cardinal points of North, South, East and West, and represent the infantry, cavalry, navy, and artillery. Atlantic City Mayor Harry Bacharach declared a holiday for the dedication of the monument, which included a parade of the Morris Guards and veterans of the Civil War and Spanish-American War, and the dramatic unveiling of the Monument. This was done by Reba Jones, granddaughter of a past commander of the local GAR post, dressed as Columbia for the event. For years, Atlantic City's Memorial Day parades finished at the monument.
Text of the marker:
Erected to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Civil War 1861-1865.
E.F. Hann, Chairman
The next memorial addition to the park came after World War II, in the form of trees dedicated to each city resident who give their lives in World Wars I and II. Each tree originally had a bronze plaque in front of it stating the name of the soldier the tree was commemorating, but vandals quickly began stealing the plaques until they were finally removed to the All Wars Building for safety. In 1997, the trees themselves were removed when they were found to be dead or dying. Today, the Honor Roll replaces the trees in the park as a way to individually commemorate those citizens who died during both World Wars, plus the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Text of the marker:
In loving memory of our friends relatives and neighbors who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we may continue to enjoy freedom and a democracy.
Commissioner Edmund Colanzi, 1981
[following is a list of names of Atlantic City residents who died in World Wars I, II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars]
In addition to these monuments, the site also holds the POW/MIA Monument, dedicated in 1989, the 87th Infantry Division Monument, the Southeast Asia Casualties Memorial, and the Purple Heart Memorial.
Three monuments grouped together in O'Donnell Park. From left to right: The POW/MIA Monument, the 87th Infantry Division Monument, and the Southeast Asia Casualties Monument.
Text of the POW/MIA Monument:
Throughout history, we have answered our country's call to arms, for freedom, for justice, for self-determination of an ally. We have served and sometimes paid in grim coin the price exacted.
Through no fault of ours, somehow we were left on foreign shores.
Some of us lie in unmarked graves. Some of us remain behind prison bars. Some of us serve as slave laborers. Yet all of us yearn to be returned to the land of our birth.
Whether to live out the remainder of our lives in freedom, or rest in peace, at last in our native soil - America, America, Bring Us Home - Someday.
Missing in Action
World War II 78,751
The Veterans of Atlantic City, New Jersey Salute America's POW/MIA
You are not forgotten
Text of the 87th Infantry Division Monument:
To the men of the 87th Infantry Division
Whose supreme sacrifice in the world wide conflict for liberty and freedom during World War II shall not pass unheralded
Erected by the 87th Infantry Division Association September 29, 1956 A.D.
Joseph Nash Belack
Text of the Southeast Asia Casualties Memorial:
Dedicated to the memory of those Atlantic County citizens who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of their nation while a member of the United States Armed Forces in Southeast Asia
The Purple Heart Memorial
Text of the Purple Heart Memorial:
Dedicated to all Men and Women wounded in all our wars.
Wounded Combat Veterans
Military Order of the Purple Heart 1782 1932
My stone is red for the blood they shed.
The medal I bear is my country's way to show they care.
If I could be seen by all mankind
Maybe peace will come in my lifetime
Erected by Chapter 155 Military Order of the Purple Heart
For more information, see articles from:
Atlantic City Press, May 30, 1989, April 25, 1997, April 10, 1996, June 29, 1992, May 29, 1953, May 19, 1945, and May 7, 1933
Atlantic City Daily Press, December 11, 1916, April 9, 1917, and April 10, 1917