Mayor announces new 9/11 memorial will be built in Whitestone to honor fallen service members from Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts

Mayor Eric Adams announced plans for a new memorial in Whitestone to honor fallen post-9/11 service members during a Fleet Week kickoff reception Thursday at City Hall.
Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Press Office

Queens will be home to the city’s new memorial dedicated to the 99 service members from the borough who lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq following the events of 9/11, Mayor Eric Adams announced during a Fleet Week kickoff reception at City Hall on Thursday morning.

The borough of Queens was chosen because it is home to the largest number of post-9/11 service members who were killed in action during those conflicts. Queens is also home to the highest population of living veterans than any other borough.

The memorial will rise on the Whitestone waterfront at the Utopia Parkway Sea Wall near Francis Lewis Park at the Queens end of the Whitestone Bridge.

Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Press Office

“I love this city and this country, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom deserve to be memorialized now and forever,” said Mayor Adams. “With this new memorial, we will honor a new generation of souls who gave their lives far too early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while simultaneously paying tribute to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have served our country in these wars.”

Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Press Office

Adams added that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were America’s longest military conflicts, which took the lives of a total of 7,057 brave souls nationwide.

“I hope all New Yorkers will take the time to reflect on the sacrifice these brave men and women made,” Adams said. “God bless their memories.”

The memorial will be part of the Utopia Parkway Seawall Replacement and Street Improvement project in Council Member Vickie Paladino’s district in Northeast Queens.

“I am deeply honored to represent neighborhoods which are home to the largest number of post-9/11 service members who fell in defense of our American values, and the largest veteran community in the city,” Paladino said. “As a member of the New York City Council Committee on Veterans and the daughter of a WWII Veteran, all our vets hold a special place in my heart and I’m proud to serve those who served our country.”

Funding for the project will be sourced from private donations and public capital project allocations to cover design, construction, and long-term maintenance costs.

“This new memorial will stand in solemn remembrance of those who gave all in defense of our values in the Global War on Terror, and I know our veteran community and all residents of this district are looking forward to this much-deserved honor,” Paladino said. “I want to personally thank Mayor Adams on behalf of myself and the community for this much-deserved memorial and for his steadfast and patriotic words.”

The announcement was welcomed by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who hosted a Memorial Day Observance Ceremony the day before to honor all U.S. service members who died as a result of their service in the military while recognizing all those who have served in the Armed Forces.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards hosted a Memorial Day observance ceremony in the Veterans Garden at Borough Hall on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office

“As we approach Memorial Day, I am so pleased that a fitting memorial will soon be erected to the New York City residents who gave their lives in service to our country in the years after 9/11,” Richards said. “These brave service members answered their nation’s call of duty after their city was so viciously attacked, and they gave their all to help make sure such a heinous attack would never happen again. Queens is proud and honored to be the future home of what will truly be a moving tribute to these heroic and selfless individuals.”

Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office

Council Member Robert Holden, who serves as Chairman of the Committee on Veterans, is proud that the memorial will be in Queens.

“Over two decades since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, today’s announcement of a post-9/11 service members memorial is great news,” Holden said. “We must remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and those worldwide, and I thank the city for this initiative.”

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America CEO Allison Jaslow thanked the Adams administration.

“Our nation must never forget the service and sacrifice of those who stepped up to serve in our nation’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of the Global War on Terror,” Jaslow said “New York City’s families and communities lost 99 men and women in the prime of their lives to these wars. I applaud Mayor Adams and his team for ensuring that their memory will be honored, not only in words but in a lasting memorial that will stand as a testament to the ultimate sacrifice these individuals made for our country. May we all be inspired to live lives worthy of the sacrifice of each and every one of them.”