East Hartford WWI Monument

East Hartford WWI Monumentloupe
Main St and Central Ave
East Hartford

East Hartford honors its World War I heroes with a 1929 statue called "Ready," or "Doughboy." The statue commemorates the eighteen East Hartford residents who lost their lives during the conflict. A dedication on the statue's west face reads: "In honor of the men and women of East Hartford who answered their country's call to service in the World War. To the dead a tribute, to the living a memory, to posterity a token of loyalty to the flag of their country." Approximately four million Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War I from April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918. Connecticut supplied nearly 63,000 soldiers to the cause (roughly five percent of its total population), including many from East Hartford. The bronze statue honors the eighteen East Hartford residents who died during the war. However, it is important to note that not all the names on the statue served in the U.S. military. Several people, including in East Hartford, had ties to Canada, Britain, and other nations. Thus, before the U.S. broke its neutrality, some joined the war effort by enlisting with other nations already engaged in the war. The figure stands 7 feet, 4 inches x 4 feet x 4 feet, and rests on a sizable, multi-layered base. The "doughboy" term stems from the nickname given to U.S. World War I troops. Though few know precisely how the name arose, many believe it came from soldiers crossing the Mexican border in 1916 who received the doughboy nickname because they were covered in white dust. Regardless of its true origin, the doughboy reference attached to World War I troops during the conflict and throughout history. The formal dedication transpired on October 5, 1929, twenty-four days before the infamous stock market crash that ultimately marked the start of the Great Depression. Nearly ninety years later, in 2018 (the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I), the statue benefited from a small restoration project to maintain its well-being. All told, the statue directly honors those East Hartford residents who died fighting in World War I. Indirectly, the statue serves as a reminder of a profound change for Americans, who sent troops overseas to fight in a war for the first time. Meanwhile, the world effectively transitioned from the "long nineteenth century" to a much different twentieth century. Still, millions died in the process during "the war to end all wars," or so it was believed in 1918. The eighteen people of East Hartford were part of that profound change.

The Wanderer