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 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.
We are building a US WW1 Memorial register through a program called the Memorials Hunters Club. If you locate a memorial that is not on the map we invite you to upload your treasure to be permanently archived in the national register. You can include your choice of your real name, nickname or team name as the explorers who added that memorial to the register. We even have room for a selfie! Check the map, and if you don't see the your memorial CLICK THE LINK TO ADD IT.
The monument was erected to honor the men who trained for World War One at Camp Greene. The most striking feature is a tall fluted column with an elaborate carving at the top holding the earth. The column stands on a large granite plinth on a triple base with inscriptions naming all the units stationed at the camp. The south face also has the spinning wheel insignia of the Daughters of the American Revolution above the inscription. It is surrounded by a black wrought iron fence.
In August 1919, Bergen County purchased land for a monument commemorating the role of Camp Merritt during the Great War at the intersection of Madison Avenue & Knickerbocker Road in Cresskill - marking the center of the largest embarkation camp in the US during WWI. Modeled after the Washington Monument, the obelisk is 65 feet tall and made of granite. Inscribed on the base are the names of the 578 people who died at the camp, mostly as the result of the 1918 influenza epidemic. A large carved relief by the sculptor Robert Ingersoll Aitken shows a striding doughboy with an eagle flying overhead.
Set into a large boulder is a copper plaque with a relief of the Palisades, illustrating that the Camp Merritt site was used as an area of embarkation. The plaque was designed by artist Katherine Lamb Tait.
The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1924. A crowd of 20,000 heard a dedicatory address given by famed Army General Pershing.
Narrative adapted from Bergen County, NJ official website.
Photo courtesy of: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)
This memorial is located on an active military base at the Camp Robinson Chapel.
This memorial, the older of the two in Gillette, honors "all who served our country in time of war" and lists the names of those from Campbell County who gave their lives in World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean Conflict. It is located outside the courthouse.
The memorial consists of three standing stone tablets inscribed “Dedicated to those brave men of Candler County who paid the supreme sacrifice in defense of their country.” It is possibly the only marker in Georgia to recognize the Nicaraguan Conflict of 1927. The site also contains a separate Candler County Veterans Memorial inscribed “Dedicated to all the residents of the county who served in the armed forces of our country during World War I, World War II and the Korean War and in memory of those who died in service.”
900 Hiawatha Drive, East Wabasha MN 55981
The large arch monument is in the center of Brown Park.
Intersection of Ocean Ave and San Carlos St
Photo and description courtesy of American Legion Post 512
This memorial arch houses a ceremonial bell, which is inscribed:
"In honor of those who served / In memory of those who died / We dedicate this Centennial Bell / October 31, 1916...October 31, 2016 / American Legion Post 512 / The people and City of Carmel-by-the-Sea."
For 44 years the memorial arch lay empty, as there were not enough funds to construct a bell. A donated bell thought to date back to 1692 was added to the memorial in 1966, where it stood until it was replaced by a new bell on Veterans Day 2016. The old bell is now stored at the library's Local History Room.
“Nov. 29, 1933 - Charlie Rabun Chapter No. 14 - D.A.V of W.W. - In Memory of Our Deceased Comrades”. “A Message to Future Generations.” Inscribed with thirteen names.
This monument dating from 1919 has a memorial plaque for Cass County residents, and one for Dowagiac City residents. It sets at the start of Main Street right across from the front of City Hall.
This bronze plaque is dedicated to the fallen members of the Quillis tribe, a local chapter of the Improved Order of Red Men fraternal organization. It is located in a cemetery shelter at Greenwood Cemetery, next to a similar plaque honoring WWII servicemembers.
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.
Located at the Elkton National Guard Armory
335 Polly Reed Rd NE
May 29, 2010
Century Tower is one of the most identifiable features of the University of Florida campus. The dream of building a tower began in 1953, when alumni sought funds to construct a monument in memory of students killed in World War I and World War II. The tower also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University of Florida in 1853. The fund drive resulted in the construction of the 157-foot-tall tower, completed in 1956.
301 N Washington Ave
This memorial is dedicated to those from Cerro Gordo Co IA who fought in World War One and gave their lives. This memorial is at the NE corner of the Cerro Gordo CO Courthouse in Mason City IA
"An American Legend"
This memorial was dedicated in May of 1986 to honor the members of the Chatham Artillery, a Savannah military unit formed in 1786.
Inscription: “Dedicated May 4, 1986 - To Honor the Members of the Chatham Artillery - Servants of God, Country, State, and Community - Soldiers in War - Patriots in Peace”
Chatham History 1886-1986 (Inscription)
“June 1917 Federalized for WW1. Training at Fort McPherson and Camp Wheeler. As part of the (?)st Division In July 1918 Were Sent to Camp Jackson S.C. And Then To France For Combat Duty With the Allied Forces."
This memorial honors local marines who served from WWII to Beirut.
Initially dedicated November 11, 1947, by the Savannah Detachment - Marine Corps League.
VFW memorial home
The Chattooga County copy of the famous statue originally stood in Circle Park in Trion, but was moved to the VFW memorial home and rededicated in 1988.
“In Honor of Our Boys Who Fought in the World War”
“Their Names May Be Forgotten But Their Deeds Are Recorded in the Annals of Their Grateful Country”.
100 W Main St
Erected by V.F.W. Leah-Rains Post 4652.
500 2nd Ave N
May 26, 1986