Ceremony will honor America’s first POWs

August 16, 2022 Theodore W. General
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The Society of Old Brooklynites will mark the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn and honor the Prison Ship Martyrs with a ceremony in Fort Greene Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.

This is the 114th memorial tribute to America’s first POWs. Entombed in a large crypt 40 feet below the 149-foot monument on the park’s hilltop are the remains of approximately 11,500 brave patriots from the American Revolution.

The towering monument and burial site, which is on sacred land, memorializes these victims who were held in dungeon-like spaces aboard decrepit British prison ships in Brooklyn’s Wallabout Bay. Having suffered under inhuman and horrific conditions, when they died they were cast overboard or placed in shallow, sand-covered graves.

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The 149-foot Prison Ship Martyrs Monument.

The memorial service will open with the presentation of the colors by the FDNY Ceremonial Honor Guard along with an ensemble of FDNY Pipes and Drums. A prominent opera singer will perform the national anthem and the invocation will follow.

The program will include a narrative about the ship martyrs, a symbolic maritime piping ceremony, a brief ballet of mourning, the somber tolling of eight slow bells, “Taps,” and a wreath-laying while the Navy Hymn is played.

Michael Spinner, the society’s second vice president, will emcee the event, which is open to the public.


At noon the same day, in Park Slope’s Washington Park, Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House, will preside over the Maryland 400 remembrance ceremony. This will include Colonial-era reenactors, the reading of the roster of Maryland 400 militiamen, a wreath-laying at the park’s flagpole and a rifle salute. A busload of historical society members from Maryland will attend.

The Old Stone House in Washington Park.

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