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.
During the period from April 1920 through July 1921, the remains of many servicemen buried in Europe during World War I were disinterred. These remains were either reinterred in selected cemeteries in Europe or returned to the United States. Of these, the remains of about 2100 were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery, specifically, in Section 18. Through the efforts of the Argonne Unit American Womens Legion, the Argonne Cross was erected to their memory and in their honor. It is situated in the southwest corner of Section 18 and faces east. A grove of 19 pine trees are on 3 sides of the Cross (North, West and South). These trees are symbolic of the Argonne Forest where many of the men fought. At the juncture of the arm and stem of the cross is carved, in low relief, an eagle and wreath.
The inscription on the east side of the base reads:
In memory of our men in France
The inscription on the west side of the base reads:
Erected through the efforts of the Argonne Unit American Womens Legion
The War Memorial, located at 101 North Gay Street, Baltimore, MD, honors and serves all veterans of Maryland. The building serves as a place of remembrance for fallen soldiers and as an administrative office for veteran’s outreach organizations. The War Memorial Commission was created under both State and City law to operate the War Memorial building. The Commission has custody and supervision of the War Memorial Building and the War Memorial Plaza.
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.
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.
The Legion War Memorial Building was a monumental structure with a monumental mission when it was completed and dedicated: to stand as a memorial to war veterans -- both alive and fallen -- from Culver's ranks. Famous for its Gold Star at the entrance and its classical, exquisite architecture, the memorial building, of course, still stands today. The site features an imposing three-floor memorial building with a Gold Star room, Gold Stars on exterior, and a plaque in honor of those Culver academy students (unnamed) killed in the war from the Federation Interalliee des Anciens Combattants at the base of the staircase (presented and dated October 23, 1922).