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Located along the Los Angeles Waterfront, this was the first national memorial to honor Merchant Marines. This memorial was the vision of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial Committee in 1976. The City of San Pedro donated the land, and the committee saw the project through the design, construction and fundraising. The majority of the funding for the memorial came from private donors. It was dedicated in 1989, and to this day the committee continues to maintain the memorial.

A striking bronze “Jacobs Ladder” statue resembles two merchant seamen climbing a ladder during a rescue at sea. In 2003, five black, granite “Walls of Honor” were added to honor all Merchant Marines who died in service, were lost at sea or became Prisoners of War (POW).

These seamen and women kept vessels, Veterans and shipments safe and operational during both peace and war times. The Merchants supported the Navy and transported Veterans and supplies all over the world. During WWII, Merchant Marines were denied Veteran status, therefore many teenage boys joined, as they were too young to enlist in any branch of the official military. These seamen sailed through the North Atlantic in dangerous territories, and many of the ships were sunk. During that war alone, 6,795 out of 215,000 United States Merchant Marines lost their lives. With close to four percent of Merchant Marines perishing, this was the highest casualty rate of any military service.

Annually on May 22, a Maritime Observance is held at this memorial to honor these Veterans who served their country and paid the ultimate sacrifice.


Stone Group Architects (SGA) is a proud supporter of our Veterans and Military Memorials. While we are strong supporters, SGA is independent from the memorials and does not claim responsibility of building or funding these memorials. SGA is a verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small business (SDVOSB) architectural firm, providing planning and design services to a variety of government clients.

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