“The Master said, “A true teacher is one who, keeping the past alive, is also able to understand the present.”
I would like to introduce you to Edward J. Malone. Edward was born, raised and lived in Jersey City, part of Hudson County, New Jersey. Edward was married to Dorothy Malone and they lived in a modest little home on 65 1/2 Jefferson Street in Jersey City. Edward lived during a time of great turmoil in the world but living in the United States, a neutral country, he was far removed from the conflict known as “The Great War”. That was until April 6th, 1917 when the United States declared war on the German Empire.
On September 23, 1917 Edward answered the call of his country. He was 30 and a half years old when he was inducted to the US Army. He started as a private and was quicly promoted to Private First Class on October 25 and then Corporal on October 27, 1917! By April 5, 1918 he held the rank of Sargent. On May 21st, 1918 Edward shipped out to France to Fight in the Great War. He was a “Yank” or a “Dough Boy” He spent the summer fighting across France until late October on the 26th day, Edward J. Malone, became a statistic. Edward Malone would never see Jersey City or his wife again. He was Killed in Action. One can imagine his widow receiving the news in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
93 years, 10 months, 16 days has passed since Edward J. Malone lost his life in a far off country trying to protect freedom. His family lost a man in the prime of his life. But how is his life or the other 146 men who are listed on a memorial plaque at the base of a statue in Jersey City regarded?
There is a park know as “Dr. Leonard J. Gordon Park” located in Jersey City Heights. It is best is best known for the sculptures of Buffalo and Bears The larger-than-life stone statues of the buffalo and bear were the work of sculptor Solon Hannibal Borglum (1868-1922) Brother of Gutzon Borglum, of Mount Rushmore fame. But but along Kennedy Blvd. high atop the hill, is a silent sentinel watching over the heights. This bronze watchman, eternally on patrol, commemorates the fallen of the First World War. On November 9, 1930, the Hudson City Soldiers and Sailors Welfare League, Inc. placed a World War I memorial statue simply called “Dough Boy” in the park. The bronze statue was cast by Eagle Bronze Works in New York.
The Smithsonian Institution “Save Outdoor Sculpture” survey describes the memorial as such; Full-length figure of a World War I soldier. He wears a uniform and hat. His proper left arm is outstretched and he holds a rifle in his proper left hand. In his proper right hand he holds a grenade which he is positioned to toss. The painted bronze sculpture stands on a white concrete base.
Inscribed on the plaque is a dedication;
In the glory of God we dedicate this monument in grateful remembrance of the Hudson City soldiers, sailors and Marines who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War. Their deeds are immortal and they have earned the historical gratitude of our country.
Below the inscription, 147 names, now mostly obscured by many layers of gold paint , list the dead of Hudson County. The base of the monument is eroding needs attention to shore up it’s perch on the hill side.
It is simply not right to see so many sons of New Jersey being potentially lost to history. In 1930 the dedication of this memorial was to make sure that these men were never forgotten.
With changing demographics, poor maintenance and simply the march of time they are endanger of being lost to the ages.
Weathered, unreadable plaques and memorials imply they have been neglected, which implies a lack of importance. It conveys the message that the thought, consideration, hard work, expense and purpose were not worth it. What was originally meant to be a symbol of honor and recognition becomes just a dilapidated old relic that people bypass and ignore.
James Walker – Walker Metalsmith
Restoration and preservation of a plaque like this is relatively straight forward. The material cost, less than $200 and a day or two of labor of one or two volunteers. Simply using a non caustic paint stripper, cleaning with water and then waxing the plaque can be cleaned safely and properly. With yearly maintenance, of about $7 in wax, it would be preserved for generations to come. If requested the writer of Monument Man is willing to assist in saving this small part of history by donating part of the labor.
I guess the real question becomes this, When demographics shift drastically, will they care? Will they bother to learn the history? Will Edward J. Malone, husband of Dorothy, Son of Jersey City be lost to history?
Leonard J. Gordon Park is located on Kennedy Boulevard between Manhattan Avenue and Hutton Street; West to Liberty Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey. There is parking across the street from the park.