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.
Originally a WW1 monument, now an all wars memorial. Individual bricks are placed in the plaza, with the names of Brooks County military. The memorial is sponsored by VFW Post 5659, Quitman, GA.
164 S Main St
"In Memory of Bullock County World War Soldiers, Erected by American Mothers of National Defenders Chapter, Service Star Legion, 1917-18, Dedicated 1936."
The tablet at the county courthouse is inscribed, “This tablet is placed to perpetuate the memory of Burke County (Ga) men who, in the service of their country in the World War, lost their lives in the sinking of the S.S. OTRANTO, October 6th 1918.” The names of seven local victims are listed.
Burke County Courthouse in Waynesboro, Georgia is a Carpenter Romanesque building completed in 1857. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
At the entrance of this courthouse is a plaque in memory of those from this community that lost their lives in the S.S. Otranto sinking, October 6, 1918.
700 Court Square
925 Quintard Ave (median)
November 11, 1921
Dedicated by the William Forney Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
A monument on the grounds of the Legion post, inscribed “In memory of our buddies who did not come back.”
Memorial was removed. Exact location unknown.
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 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