Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Eastern Promenade honored Cpl. Jacob Cousins, the first Jewish soldiers from Portland to be killed in World War I 100 years ago.

The Jacob Cousins Memorial serves as a reminder of the patriotism and sacrifices that Jewish-Americans have made for their country.

A plaque honors Cpl. Jacob Cousins, Portland’s first Jewish soldier killed in World War I. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

A second plaque remembers Jewish soldiers from Portland killed in World War II.

“From the start, the renovation of the Jacob Cousins Memorial has been a heartfelt project involving so many supporters,” said Brandon Mazer, president of Friends of the Eastern Promenade board of directors. “On Veterans Day weekend, it’s the right time to be remembering Jacob Cousins and all Maine veterans. The new memorial site, overlooking Casco Bay, is a reflective and calming space on the Eastern Promenade.”

Cousins was 24 when he enlisted in the Army. His Company C 328th Infantry fought in the 47-day battle in the Meuse-Argonne region of France, the largest U.S. military offensive ever. On Oct. 14, 1918, less than a month before the war ended, Cousins was killed leading his platoon in battle on the German border. He received the Purple Heart and a silver medal for his bravery posthumously. He is buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the largest military cemetery in Europe.

The city of Portland and Friends of the Eastern Promenade jointly funded the $41,000 memorial project.

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