On September 10, 2021, a group of dedicated community members, veterans, members of the Armed Forces, and corporate leaders gathered for the unveiling of the Cleveland Lone Sailor at its temporary home in Great Lakes Science Center. The statue pays tribute to the men and women who have served, are currently serving, or will serve in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Merchant Marine—and raises awareness of the future Navy ship, USS Cleveland (LCS 31), currently under construction in Marinette, Wisconsin and scheduled to be commissioned in Cleveland in 2025.
The statue was designed by sculptor Stanley Bleifeld, who enlisted in the Navy during World War II. The original Lone Sailor statue arrived on station at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. on October 13, 1987. Today, there are 17 replicas around the world, with Cleveland being the location of the 18th Lone Sailor now awaiting its permanent location to welcome the future USS Cleveland to the shores of Lake Erie.
In addition to the iconic statue, the Monument will include an Honor and Memorial Wall featuring personalized plaques with the names of men and women who have served the Nation in America’s Sea Services. It is also anticipated that the Monument will incorporate granite stones retained from the Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument prior to its 2009 restoration, offering a historical link to Clevelanders’ distinguished service to the Union in the Civil War.
The Cleveland Lone Sailor Monument will provide a meaningful location for special ceremonies, including enlistments, commissionings, advancements, promotions, retirements, and memorial services. It will draw Clevelanders and out-of-town visitors alike to the lakefront and reflect the USSCLF’s vision “to support positive civil-military relations by creating and maintaining a strong, meaningful, and direct bond between citizens of northeast Ohio and the crew of USS Cleveland (LCS 31).”
The USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation continues to work with government, nonprofit, and corporate partners to finalize the location of the Cleveland Lone Sailor Monument. It is tentatively scheduled to be constructed and dedicated in 2024.