Memorial is located in Brighton Park, on the Boardwalk end of the park.
Less eager than willing, more dutiful than brave
Brave when required, democracy's children, they gave
their service far from home, and saw they came
as victors, not conquerors, in freedom's name
- Robert Pinsky, Thirty-Ninth Poet Laureate of the United States
|Freedom is Not Free|
[Following the title is a list of New Jersey veterans who died in the Korean War.]
In 1996, New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman created a committee whose purpose was to decide on the design, site, and funding for a memorial which would serve as a "fitting acknowledgement of the valor displayed by our military personnel who served in Korea." New Jersey's casualties in the Korean War numbered nearly 800, and it was felt that neither those men, nor the state's living veterans of the war, had yet received the recognition they deserved.
In 2000, ground was broken on a site at Atlantic City's Brighton Park for a $3 million Korean War Memorial, of which the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority contributed $1 million. The memorial's designers and sculptors were J. Tom Carillo, Thomas Jay Warren, and Sarah Maloney, whose finished product included an eternal flame, a sculpture of a group of soldiers under fire, a 12-foot tall statue of "the Mourning Soldier" clutching dog tags from fallen soldiers, and a list of the 822 servicemen who were killed or missing in action during the Korean War.
The memorial was officially dedicated on November 13, 2000, with Veterans' Day on the 11th having been ruled out because many veterans had other engagements and would have been unable to attend. Guests at the dedication included Governor Whitman, and Korean ambassador Hur Ri-hoon, who noted to the veterans that "your sacrifices did not go unnoticed." The ceremony also featured a nine-gun salute and a flying over of four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 177th Fighter Wing, New Jersey Air National Guard.
Each year, wreath layings and other commemorative ceremonies are held at the site on the anniversary of the Korean War's armistice signing. The memorial also includes a separate Thomas Jay Warren sculpture honoring New Jersey servicemen who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their efforts in Korea. Those honored in bronze reliefs are Edward C. Benfold, Nelson V. Brittin, Hector A. Gafferata, Jr., Samuel S. Coursen, and Henry Svehla, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011. His relief was added to the other four at the Korean War Memorial in July 2013.