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.
This interactive database provides location and all other available information on known World War One monuments and memorials. Do you know of a World War One Monument or Memorial that is not listed in our database? Do you see incorrect information listed for one of the sites? Do you have photos of one of our listed sites that you want to contribute? Click here to submit the relevant information for inclusion in the database.
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.”
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)
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.”
The large arch monument is in the center of Brown Park.
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.
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.
2 Lafayette St S
Erected by American Legion Post 141.
"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)
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
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)
350 Commerce St
Erected by the citizens of Clarke County.
Clarke County Courthouse Square
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