Memorial for Fallen Coast Guard Members Erected in Cape May

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CAPE MAY, N.J. -

It was in the month of January, a little more than 100 years ago when the United States Coast Guard was officially established.

During that time, many men and women lost their lives during Coast Guard missions.

To honor their sacrifices, officials with the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation have been working on a large scale memorial on the Cape May base for nearly a decade.

“Nowhere in the country was there a memorial dedicated to the enlisted men and women who died in the performance of Coast Guard missions until now," said Thomas Dougherty, president, U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation.

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What could be a better location than the birth place of the United States Coast Guard Enlisted Corps in Cape May? The site features eight granite walls surrounding a brass ship's bell and a pyramid topped with a bronze eternal flame.

“There [are] over 1,500 names for the memorial dating back to 1915, and that’s when the Coast Guard actually became the Coast Guard,” said Dougherty.

Prior to January 28th, 1915, the Coast Guard was initially two separate entities called the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life Saving Service. Their merging created the United States Coast Guard.

"We, of course, wanted to honor everyone who served in the Coast Guard and has passed away," says Dougherty. "However, it would have been such a huge memorial and we just didn’t have the space here.” 

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Dougherty tells SNJ Today that the Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation officials were fortunate to have representatives with the Coast Guard Training Center donate the piece of land that they’ve been able to transform in the last eight years.

“We’ve only been here three years," said Jessica Manfre, Jersey Cape Military Spouses Club. "So, I can’t imagine waiting eight years for it to come to fruition. So, it’s really been nice watching it come together. I mean, the kids, you just walk by, seeing the little steps, it’s awesome.”

Thousands of people donated to the project including members with the Jersey Cape Military Spouses Club.

The entire $450,000 needed for this project has already been raised by officials with the United States Coast Guard Enlisted Memorial Foundation. Officials said now they’re just excited to share this new memorial with the public come May.

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