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Memorial Day 2023 Tribute to Edward Bates

For this Memorial Day 2023, G-Square would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to you and ALL the brave men and women who have served our country. Your selfless sacrifice and dedication to protecting our freedoms have not gone unnoticed. It is a day to celebrate the values that our fallen heroes fought to defend. Freedom, justice, and equality are the pillars of our democracy, and we must continue to uphold them in their memory.

While we take Memorial Day as a day of remembrance, G-Square would like to share a story of a war veteran who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. This is a story of a true hero who exemplified courage, bravery, and selflessness in spite of the racial divide even as a Black soldier serving his country. This veteran's name was Edward Stephenson Bates (1925-2021), a devoted husband and father, and celebrated artist. Growing up in Atlantic City, Edward began crafting this legacy during the Great Depression. After graduating high school, at 18, Edward was drafted on September 13, 1943, into the United States Navy to serve during WWII.

After completing boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, Edward was among the first group of Black Americans allowed to attend classes at the prestigious Naval Air Technical Training School in Millington, Tennessee. Edward emerged from training with the rank of Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class and was assigned to the Floyd Bennett Naval Air Station in Brooklyn, New York. Although now a highly skilled aviation mechanic, due to discrimination, Edward was prevented from assignment to serve on any Navy aircraft carriers during the war.

While Edward was very proud of the years he was in the Navy, he never forgot the racism he faced while serving his own country. At war’s end, Edward was honorably discharged from his military service on February 7, 1946. Life for Black soldiers after WWII was challenging, but Edward married had children and was determined to create a solidly good life for himself and family. After sometime working in Ohio and Atlantic City, Edward eventually returned to work in New York City. It was also during this time that Edward began to recognize his massive talent as a visual artist. This was a gift that would lead him to produce a collection of stunning paintings with African subjects. These paintings have been displayed in various art shows, libraries, museums, town halls, and highly respected venues in NYC and in other parts of the USA. He has won numerous first prize awards, honors and tributes for his work, including a distinguished one man show. From Edward’s participation in his community of Long Island, Deer Park where he resided during his senior years, he was recognized by many politicians and officials. One being on May 14, 2016, along with other selected WWII surviving veterans, he was formally honored for his service in the Navy by the United States Honor Flight Network and flown to Washington D.C. for festivities. Later, in August of 2016, further honors were given by Honor Flight Network recipients in Long Island. The event was to provide veterans of the flight with a commemorative book with pictures of the flight events to Washington D.C.; however, Edward was surprised to be called up to receive a special honor from a high Commander of the USS Nimitz giving him life time rights to board the Naval ship as a honored naval man. This was overwhelming for Edward to be able to finally be given this privilege after almost 70 years since he served. Edward closed his eyes on January 29, 2021.He was survived by a loving family, which remarkably included 10 great grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren.On June 5, 2021, on the first birthday after his parting, a street in Long Island where he last lived was named after him: Edward S. Bates Memorial Way.He lived his life to such a high degree that every entry of his story can be read as poetic fate. The culmination of his life’s work reaches beyond just historical contribution because his life, being one of boundless love, dedication, and talent allows him to break through temporal barriers with an eternal reach inspiring all who encounter his story and work.G-Square Publishing honors Navy veteran Edward Stephenson Bates.

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