Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
Located at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, this plaza stands as a memorial to all the American soldiers who fought for their country. Originally built in honor of the fallen soldiers of World War I, this plaza has since been rededicated to commemorate the dead of all of America’s wars.
It has been estimated that of the more than 61.5 million soldiers who fought in World War I (1914-1918), 8.5 million were killed, 7 million were permanently injured or maimed, and 12.5 million received recoverable injuries. The United States entered the war in 1917 and fought for only one year, but the country lost approximately 116,000 men in this brief time.
These men and their surviving colleagues were originally commemorated when President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) declared the first anniversary of the armistice, November 11, 1919, as “Armistice Day.” It was the first nationwide commemoration of the war. On November 11, 1921, following the lead of Great Britain and France, the United States laid to rest an “unknown soldier” in Washington, D.C. In the years following that ceremony, 27 states adopted laws declaring November 11 a legal holiday, and the U.S. Congress enacted a resolution on June 4, 1926, asking the President to officially name the day, “Armistice Day.” Twelve years later, in 1938, Armistice Day was made a national holiday.
In World War II (1939-45), the United States lost 407,318 soldiers. In 1947, barely two years after the end of the hostilities, the first “Veteran’s Day” parade in honor of all of America’s veterans marched through Birmingham, Alabama. On June 1, 1954 President Eisenhower (1890-1969) signed a bill officially changing the name Armistice Day to Veterans Day. In 1958, two unknown soldiers were reinterred alongside the unknown soldier of World War I. One died in World War II and the other in the Korean War (1950-1953). In 1973 a law passed to add an unknown soldier who perished in the Vietnam War (1945-1973). That soldier was interred in 1984.
The City acquired this land in 1927, and it was assigned to Parks on January 13, 1932. The Board of Aldermen named the parkland Queens Village Veterans Plaza on November 1, 1932. The site contains a sitting area with a covered stage, a flagpole with a yardarm, and a monument to those who served in all wars.
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