ANNAPOLIS – Wedged into the fork of Routes 450 and 648, just north of the Naval Academy Bridge, is a small and nondescript grassy hillside. From there you can see the entire Naval Academy across the Severn River, and much of downtown Annapolis beyond it. In the distance the dome of the Statehouse and the steeples of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church stand above the cityscape.
This nameless greensward with its magnificent view is the site of the Maryland World War II Memorial. On a clear autumn Wednesday, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and other state officials held the official groundbreaking ceremony, with music from the Annapolis High School Ceremonial Band and dozens of veterans, including those of World War II, in attendance.
“You saved the world, veterans,” said Lt. Gen. James Frederick, who spoke at the ceremony. Other speakers included Glendening, former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein.
Glendening thanked Gerald A. “Jerry” Glaubitz, mayor of Morningside, who survived Pearl Harbor and insisted on building a memorial while he was still there to see it. “Jerry, this one’s for you,” said Glendening.
House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany, told the audience that “there is no finer example in the entire history of the world of the victory of good over evil than America’s victory in World War II.”
In an interview after the ceremony, Goldstein recounted his experience in the Third Marine Division at Guam.
“I gave up my business, enrolled in the Marines and started at $50 a month,” he said. “It went up to $76. We saw it as something that we needed to do.”
Goldstein also served on a commission in the Phillippines that investigated Japanese atrocities against Filipinos, churchmen and business leaders.
In one instance, “there were priests and nuns locked in a dungeon, and someone dropped a grenade in through a hole about this big,” Goldstein said, using his hands to suggest a narrow tube. “One priest and one nun survived. We interviewed them both.”
Goldstein, along with Glendening and State Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, is on the Board of Public Works, which approved the project and gave the nearly $1.8 million construction contract to Priceless Industries Inc.
“It was a long time in coming,” Goldstein said of the memorial. Designed by New York architect Secundino Fernandez, the memorial will consist of a diamond-shaped amphitheater surrounded by a 100-foot-wide ring of 48 granite piers and hedges spelling out “WORLD WAR II.” It will feature a seven-sided stainless steel obelisk, plaques on the history of the war and granite slabs with the names of the 6,454 Marylanders who were killed in the war. -30-