Ceremonies held June 10th, 1998, at a playground in the Midwood section of Brooklyn commemorated the 50th anniversary of the death of U.S. and Israeli military hero David Marcus who had served as Correction's First Deputy Commissioner and then Commissioner under Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
The DOC Emerald Society Pipe Band conducted the Presentation of the Colors at the commemorative event in the Colonel David Marcus Playground at East 5th St. and Ave. P.
Then Chief of Department Edward Reilly spoke on behalf of the DOC: "It is not surprising that a most memorable Mayor, chose a memorable man, to lead the boldest uniformed agents of this city." Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern and City Councilman Noach Dear also recalled the heroism and public service that characterized Marcus' life.
Marcus' service with DOC began Jan.19, 1934, when he was named First Deputy Commissioner. He was appointed Commissioner in January, 1940, although he had been functioning as acting commissioner for some period prior to the official designation. He resigned in October that same year and returned to military service as a Lt. Colonel when war was imminent in Europe.
A plaque was unveiled setting forth a short biography that read, in part:
"In 1948, this playground was dedicated to the memory of Colonel David 'Mickey' Marcus, an outstanding Jewish-American patriot who sacrificed his life during the struggle for Israel's independence. . . . He was born on Feb.22, 1901 . . . [He] graduated from Boys High School in 1919. After a year at City College, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating in 1924, Marcus reported for duty at Governors Island. . . .He attended night classes at Brooklyn Law School and earned [law degrees in 1927 and 1928]. . . .
"Marcus resigned from the Army . . . . enlisted in the Reserves and entered civilian life. Between 1929 and 1941, he earned a series of appointments: junior attorney in the Treasury Department, Assistant U.S. Attorney, First Deputy Commissioner, and then Commissioner of Correction . . . After the outbreak of WWII, Marcus re-entered the Army . . . Promoted to Colonel in 1943, Marcus assisted in the negotiations of several critical international accords. Though untrained as a paratrooper, he joined the D-Day airborne assault and parachuted into Normandy in 1944.
"He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Ribbon, and the Order of the British Empire. . . . In November 1947 the UN voted to divide Palestine . . . . At the request of Israeli officials, Marcus arrived [there] to transform their untrained, unorganized forces into a modern army . . . When Arab forces attacked [in May, 1948], Marcus serve[d] as supreme commander of the Israeli forces on the Jerusalem front. On June 10th, 1948, just six hours before the first truce . . . he was killed while inspecting his troops. . . Col. Marcus was laid to rest at West Point . . .
"The 1966 movie 'Cast a Giant Shadow' told the story of Marcus' military career. . . Student, soldier, public servant, and strategist, Mickey Marcus is remembered with pride at this children's playground in Midwood."
Go to American Veterans of Israel Honor Colonel/Commissioner Marcus at West Point
(5 JPG images of ceremonies = 107K)
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