With its perfect view across the Severn River, locals have long used the scenic overlook on Route 450 to gaze over the Naval Academy Bridge (previously the Old Severn River Bridge) toward Annapolis and the United States Naval Academy (USNA).
Fittingly, that spot was chosen to honor fallen military members when it became the Maryland World War II Memorial in the late 1990s. Designed by New York architect Secundino Fernandez, construction of the $2.3 million memorial began in 1997 and was dedicated in July 1998.
The amphitheater-style monument is surrounded by columns and partially connected by granite slabs on which the names of 6,454 Marylanders who died during the war are etched. (About 273,000 Marylanders, 14 percent of the state’s population at that time, served in World War II.)
Additional information about the war and Marylanders at home and abroad appears on the memorial’s stone panels and mosaic circles, beginning with this poignant introduction: With their lives before them, they left everything—their families, their loved ones, the serenity and security of their homes—to fight for a just cause. They departed on a journey to places they had never heard of to confront dangers they could not imagine…and never wavered or faltered in their duty.
Roger Sexauer, a 1980 USNA graduate, believes the memorial is a significant marker, not only for past Marylanders who served their country in wartime, but also for those who currently serve.
“It is important to never forget, to preserve the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” says Sexauer, who commanded submarines in the Navy after his graduation.
“And the setting is perfect, with the Midshipmen's Memorial below it and the view onto the Naval Academy.”
Maryland’s World War II Memorial is located at 1920 Ritchie Highway in Annapolis. For more information, click here.