Revolutionary War prison ship martyrs commemorated in Fort Greene

To celebrate the 107th annual Commemoration and Memorial Tribute to the Revolutionary War prison ship martyrs, the New York City Fire Department’s Ceremonial Unit joined forces with the Society of Old Brooklynites to bring the historic day to life.

According to Ted General, Michael Spinner—this year’s master of ceremonies—kicked off the commemoration at the 149-foot tall Prison Ship Martyrs monument in Fort Greene Park by narrating the traditional Maritime piping ceremony, which included calling out the names of the “15 British prison ships that held thousands of colonial sailors, militia, soldiers and citizens captive under the most inhuman and deplorable conditions.”

The day’s keynote speech was presented by society President George Broadhead, a marine Corps General who, according to General, was decorated that day with a Silver Star for his gallantry under fire during the Korean War.

“Professor Maurice Decaul from Columbia University then read a stirring poem about the plight of the martyrs he wrote for this somber occasion,” said General. “Mena Rhodes Kelly, an author, member of the society and a member of the New York City Chapter of the DAR [also] gave some remarks about the historic significance of the monument and the men that lay dead under it.”

According to General, the crypt that lies forty feet under the towering monument “contains the actual remains of 11,500 patriots who failed to swear allegiance to the British crown.”

The day commenced with an interpretive dance performance by the Young Dancers in Repertory’s Craig Gabrian—a piece that highlighted the suffering the revolutionary martyrs underwent.



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