Hidden in the water in Battery Park is one of the most moving monuments you can see. The American Merchant Marine Monument, sculpted by Marisol Escobar in 1991, takes the form of three merchant marines stranded on a sinking ship, terrified, calling for help and trying to reach the desperate hand of one of their fellow shipmates who is sinking in the water.
The United States Merchant Marine suffered more casualties than any other American service during World War II, 1 in 26 sailors would not return home. It faced submarines, mines, armed robbers, destroyers, planes, “kamikazes” and the elements. About 8,300 sailors were killed at sea, 12,000 injured, of whom at least 1,100 died from their wounds, and 663 men and women were taken prisoner. Some died by explosion, some by burning, some by drowning, some by freezing, and some by starvation. Sixty-six died in prison camps or on board Japanese ships while being transported to other camps. Thirty-one American merchant ships disappeared without a trace to a watery grave.