The Harlan Doughboy was unveiled on Armistice Day, November 11, 1930, to honor the 30 Harlan County men who gave their lives in World War I and whose names are cast in bronze at the base of the statue. A parade opened the ceremonies. Mayor L.O. Smith, in uniform, led the parade with the Benham High School Band immediately following. National Guard, Legionnaires, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and school children also participated. After the parade ended in front of the courthouse, the National Guard fired salutes with rifles, while machine guns rattled salutes from the top of the courthouse.