World War One was a watershed in American history. The United States' decision to join the battle in 1917 "to make the world safe for democracy" proved pivotal in securing allied victory—a victory that would usher in the American Century.
In the war's aftermath, individuals, towns, cities, counties, and states all felt compelled to mark the war, as did colleges, businesses, clubs, associations, veterans groups, and houses of worship. Thousands of memorials—from simple honor rolls, to Doughboy sculptures, to grandiose architectural ensembles—were erected throughout the US in the 1920s and 1930s, blanketing the American landscape.
Each of these memorials, regardless of size or expense, has a story. But sadly, as we enter the war's centennial period, these memorials and their very purpose—to honor in perpetuity the more than four million Americans who served in the war and the more than 116,000 who were killed—have largely been forgotten. And while many memorials are carefully tended, others have fallen into disrepair through neglect, vandalism, or theft. Some have been destroyed. Watch this CBS news video on the plight of these monuments.
The United States World War One Centennial Commission is supporting The World War One Memorial Inventory project. This nationwide inventory seeks to identify, document, and preliminarily assesses the condition of the country's World War I memorials and monuments. The effort is intended to raise public awareness of the presence, and in many cases, sadly, the plight of these historic monuments and memorials, as a necessary first step to ensuring their conservation and preservation. Read more about the World War One Memorial Inventory project in this article by the project's founder, Mark Levitch.
The extant memorials are our most salient material links in the US to the war. They afford a vital window onto the conflict, its participants, and those determined to remember them. Rediscovering the memorials and the stories they tell will contribute to their physical and cultural rehabilitation—a fitting commemoration of the war and the sacrifices it entailed.
(NAMES OF 590 MEN ARE LISTED IN 9 COLUMNS.)
One lists the local American Legion posts and the other bears a quotation from Teddy Roosevelt: “All daring and courage, all iron, endurance or misfortune, all devotion to the ideal of honor and glory of the flag makes for a finer and nobler type of humanhood.”
The pipes supplying the spigots on each side of the shaft burst during the first winter in Kansas City and were permanently turned off. In 1958, when the city began a downtown redevelopment project, this fountain was moved to the intersection of Van Brunt Boulevard and Budd Park Esplanade. The pedestal fountain consists of a circular base, saucer receptacle and a rectangular shaft which rises to a height of six feet. Four eagles are carved into the corners at the summit. Two bronze plaques illustrate soldiers on one side and sailors on the other. The artist, from Topeka, Kansas, became Professor of Sculpture at the University of Southern California.
Robert Merrell Gage, sculptor
Carl Illava, sculptor
A standing figure of a soldier dressed in his khakis and wearing his helmet. He holds a rifle in front of him with both hands. The base of the sculpture is a shaft flanked by large paneled slabs inscribed with the names of Cecil County men who died in World War I. At the bottom of the base is a row of three steps. At each end of the base, on the front corners, are tapered shafts topped by electric lamps. On the front of the base is a carved eagle.
Morton and Stillman Sts.
North End (Boston)