In this 100th anniversary year of World War I, Bergen County is honoring Camp Merritt – the largest U.S. Army Embarkation Camp in the nation, where more than 1 million soldiers were lodged on their way to and from the battlefields of Europe.
To honor and remember this camp, its soldiers and all veterans, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco is inviting the public to the “Camp Merritt WWI Centennial Commemoration” to be held on Sunday, October 22, at 1 p.m. at the memorial located at the intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue in Cresskill and Dumont, N.J.
Sponsored by the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, Department of Parks, the ceremony will include music, honor guards, historic retrospectives, the raising of a new flag for the monument, as well as the unveiling of new interpretative panels.
The keynote speaker will be Lt. Col. Sherman L. Fleek, U.S. Army (Ret.), Command Historian for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Lt. Col. Fleek retired from the U. S. Army in 2002 after a 25-year career. He served as an aviator, Special Forces officer, and enlisted armor crewman, ending his career as Chief Historian of the National Guard Bureau. In 2005, the U.S. Army appointed Mr. Fleek as the historian to record and to write the Army’s official history of the reconstruction efforts in Iraq, then served in Iraq in early 2006. In 2009, he was appointed the command historian for the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
After the ceremony there will be a reception at the Camp Merritt American Legion Post 21 at 75 Legion Drive in Cresskill, N.J. During the reception, Howard E. Bartholf -- historian & author of the recently published Images of America: Camp Merritt -- will talk about Camp Merritt and its soldiers. An exhibit of artifacts will be on display. For information or to RSVP to the reception please feel free to call 201.336.7267 or email [email protected]
More than 1 million soldiers were lodged at Camp Merritt on their way to and from the battlefields of Europe. These soldiers included Capt. Harry S. Truman, Sgt. Alvin York, the war’s most decorated soldier, Pvt. Thomas Neibaur, and Sgt. Henry Johnson, the Harlem Hellfighter who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in 2015.Today, the camp’s center is marked by the towering Camp Merritt Memorial Monument, a county historic site located at the intersection of Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue in Cresskill and Dumont.