They Call Them the Silent Sentinels

Image courtesy of Delaware State Parks,

Location: various on the shores of Delaware and New Jersey; Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware; Cape May, New Jersey; Fenwick Island State Park, Delaware.

In an article from the American Legion a few years ago, they referred to the watchtowers along the Delaware and New Jersey shores as “silent sentinels,” sturdy and steadfast reminders of a time when we stood vigilant watches for threats from foreign enemies. And, as the article explains, “the threat was quite real.”

Image of the Cape Henlopen State Park courtesy of the Delaware Department of Transportation,

We know now that German submarines were indeed off the coast of the United States in great numbers, the greatest concentration of which are reported to have been off the North Carolina coast (so many in fact it became known as Torpedo Alley or Torpedo Junction). Many have written about the rich and important history of North Carolinians during World War II.

Image courtesy of Delaware State Parks,

A little farther up the coast near New Jersey and Delaware, however, the hulking remains of this era are still there for visitors to see and on some, their guns, now silent, are still pointed out to sea. At Fort Miles in Delaware, the public can tour one of the towers to see where soldiers stood long watches in these concrete watchtowers.

In Cape May, the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) has made Fire Control Tower 23 a centerpiece of cultural events for the public, hosting community events and featuring many memorial plaques and photographs of the veterans who stood the watch for their citizens. Many of our coastal states are home to such silent sentinels, reminders of a bygone era and the significant role citizens and soldiers played in wartime vigilance on the home front.

Please visit the MAC , American Legion, Learn NC, and Our State websites for more stories and information about this interesting and important time in our country’s history!

Image courtesy of

Monumental USA is dedicated to highlighting local monuments and the human stories that lay at their foundation. The desire is to reinvigorate civic pride and sense of ownership through interesting monuments to events and personalities great and small across the nation, with a special focus on local and perhaps obscure or forgotten memorials.

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