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Monuments & Memorials

"The centennial of World War One offers an opportunity for people in the United States
to learn about and commemorate the sacrifices of their predecessors."

from The World War One Centennial Commission Act, January 14, 2013

DCWorldWarMonumen 1World 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.

Memorial Hunters Club

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.

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Century Tower

      
Gainesville
FL
USA
32611

1953

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.

 
 
2 Lafayette St S
La Fayette
AL
USA
36862
Erected by American Legion Post 141.
 

Charles Young Monument

          
4411 Prospect St.
Cleveland
OH
USA
44103
"An American Legend"
"Charles Young was the third black graduate of the United States Military Academy, class of 1889. Young enjoyed a diverse military career as a lieutenant of a cavalry troop squadron, and regimental commander, acting superintendent of a national park, military attaché to Haiti and Liberia, professor at Wilberforce University and military advisor to the President of Liberia.
Colonel Young was a dedicated soldier and statesman. Young is an American legend, a model for youth and adults of all races to emulate. As a 'Buffalo Soldier' he was present on the early westward frontier. At Fort Huachuca, Major Young commanded the 2nd squadron cavalry regiment in the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico, served in the Spanish American War, and the Philippine Insurrection. On June 22, 1917 Charles Young became the first African American to reach the rank of Colonel.
Young died and was buried in Lagos, Nigeria in 1922 while serving as Colonel in World War One. A year later his remains were returned to the United States and buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. On June 1, 1923 many Americans bade farewell to a distinguished soldier and statesman. " (Robert Ewell Green in Black Courage)

"The life of Charles Young was a triumph of tragedy. No one ever knew the truth about the Hell he went through at West Point. He seldom even mentioned it. The pain was too great. Few knew what faced him always in his army life. It was not enough for him to do well - he must always do better: and so much and so conspicuously better as to disarm the scoundrels that ever trailed him. He lived in the army surrounded by insult and intrigue and yet set his teeth and kept his soul serene and triumphed.
He was one of the few men I know who literally turned the other cheek with Jesus Christ. When officers of inferior rank refused to salute a black man, he saluted them. Seldom did he lose his temper, seldom complain.
Steadily, unswervingly he did his duty. And Duty to him as to few modern men, was spelled in capitals.
Now he is dead. But the heart of the Great Black Race, the Ancient of Days - the Undying and Eternal - rises and salutes his shining memory: Well done! Charles Young, Soldiers and Man and unswerving Friend." (W.E.B. DuBois in The Crisis, February 1992)

"AS soon as the school year was over, I rode on horseback from Wilberforce to Washingotn, walking on foot fifteen minutes in each hour, the distance of 497 miles to show, if possible, my physical fitness for command of troops. I there offered my services gladly at he risk of life, which has no value to me if I cannot give it for the great ends for which the United States is striving." (Colonel Charles Young, age 53, Historic Horseback Ride 1918)
 
442 East Bay Street
Savannah
GA
USA
31401
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."
 
Forsyth Park
Savannah
GA
USA
31401
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
Trion
GA
USA
30753
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.
 
251 East Marietta St.
Canton
GA
USA
30114

Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch

“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
Centre
AL
USA
35960

1950

Erected by V.F.W. Leah-Rains Post 4652.
 
 
500 2nd Ave N
Clanton
AL
USA
35045

May 26, 1986

 
 
651 California Street
San Francisco
CA
USA
94108
 

Choctaw War Memorial

      
10 Council House Rd
Tuskahoma
OK
USA
74574

Photo courtesy of Forest County Potawatomi

This memorial is inscribed: In Honor of Those Choctaws Who Gave Their Lives in Defense of Our Nation. It is further dedicated to the Choctaw code talkers of WW1. Although Native Americans were not considered citizens during WW1, roughly 10,000 volunteered to serve. Once they reached the front, Native servicemembers were stereotyped as fierce warriors and frequently assigned to dangerous missions. As a result, they suffered casualty rates five times higher than U.S. troops overall.

 
115 S. Main Street, Churubusco IN 46723
Churubusco
IN
USA
46723

1948

This tablet erected to perpetuate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives and honoring those who served in our armed forces.

 
Springfield Avenue & Nesbitt Terrace
Irvington
NJ
USA
07111

1922

Charles Keck

This monument was erected to honor the soldiers & sailors of Irvington, NJ who fought in World War I. It depicts a soldier dressed in a military uniform with an open-collared shirt, holding a bayonet in his lowered right hand. In his left hand, he grasps an upright flagpole topped with a small eagle. A partially unfurled American flag wraps around the flagpole.

In the back of the figure, an anvil is placed atop a tree stump and topped with an open book and an oil lamp. The statue stands on an inscribed marble base decorated in its upper portion with a relief of garland leaves.

Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory #NJ000277.

Photo courtesy of: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)

 

City of Renton Memorial Plaque

          
523 S 3rd St
Renton
WA
USA
98055

This plaque is inscribed with the names of "the boys of the city of Renton who served in the World War" as well as the Bible verse John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." A star next to a name signifies "Died In Service," meaning the servicemember was killed in action, died of wounds, died of disease, or died in an accident. The memorial is located in Veterans Memorial Park, south of the Renton History Museum.

 
Jeffersonville
IN
USA
47130
 
 
Clarksville
IN
USA
47129
 
 
350 Commerce St
Jackson
AL
USA
36545

1998

Erected by the citizens of Clarke County.
 
 
Clarke County Courthouse Square
Grove Hill
AL
USA
36451

1924

Monument dedicated to the servicemen from Clarke County who lost their lives during World War I. In 2002, a new honor roll tablet was added to replace the previous one that separated the service men based on race. The memorial is a contributing structure to the Grove Hill Courthouse Square Historic District.
 
 
25 Court Sq
Ashland
AL
USA
36251
 
800 West Second St
Corning
AR
USA
72422
No additional information at this time.
 
Brazil
IN
USA
47834

1945

This building houses all Clay County Memorial Plaques since World War I.

 
 
120 Vickery St
Heflin
AL
USA
36264
 
301 W. Main St.
Heber Springs
AR
USA
72543
No additional information at this time.
 
20 E Magnolia St, Rison, AR 71665
Rison
AR
USA
71665
No additional information at this time.
 
20 Magnolia St.
Rison
AR
USA
71665
Courthouse in Cleveland County, Arkansas.
 

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