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.
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.
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)
This memorial is located on an active military base at the Camp Robinson Chapel.
This memorial, the older of the two in Gillette, honors "all who served our country in time of war" and lists the names of those from Campbell County who gave their lives in World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean Conflict. It is located outside the courthouse.
A concrete obelisk, painted white, was erected here in about 1945. It originally had a bronze plaque listing the names of Lincoln County residents who were killed or lost in WWI and WWII. The plaque was stolen and replaced by another in about 1990 which honors veterans of all wars.
Photo and description courtesy of American Legion Post 512
This memorial arch houses a ceremonial bell, which is inscribed:
"In honor of those who served / In memory of those who died / We dedicate this Centennial Bell / October 31, 1916...October 31, 2016 / American Legion Post 512 / The people and City of Carmel-by-the-Sea."
For 44 years the memorial arch lay empty, as there were not enough funds to construct a bell. A donated bell thought to date back to 1692 was added to the memorial in 1966, where it stood until it was replaced by a new bell on Veterans Day 2016. The old bell is now stored at the library's Local History Room.
“Nov. 29, 1933 - Charlie Rabun Chapter No. 14 - D.A.V of W.W. - In Memory of Our Deceased Comrades”. “A Message to Future Generations.” Inscribed with thirteen names.
Side 1: They faced the perils of the sea and the hidden foe beneath the waves.
Side 2: They sought no glory but their country's good.
Two Honor Rolls entitled: Died in the service of their country.
This monument dating from 1919 has a memorial plaque for Cass County residents, and one for Dowagiac City residents. It sets at the start of Main Street right across from the front of City Hall.
There are two Granite Obelisks dedicated
to the memory of Castle Rock residents
who made The Supreme Sacrifice in the
wars of our Republic.
Inscription of WW1 Obelisk:
CHAS. S. CHISM
ELMER O. LEONARD
ALBERT W. ROSIN
The second obelisk features the names of
Castle Rock residents lost in World War 2,
Korean War and the Vietnam War.
This bronze plaque is dedicated to the fallen members of the Quillis tribe, a local chapter of the Improved Order of Red Men fraternal organization. It is located in a cemetery shelter at Greenwood Cemetery, next to a similar plaque honoring WWII servicemembers.
Description: Granite memorial - Inscription: “Dedicated to the memory of the men of Catoosa County, GA, who gave their lives and to all who served in World Wars I & II. Erected 1950 by VFW Post No. 7675 of Ringgold, Georgia.”
This memorial contains the names of six soldiers from Catoosa County who died in WW1. The backside of this memorial is dedicated to those that served in subsequent wars.
Causland Memorial Park
Commissioned in 1919 & Completed 1921
Designed by John Baptiste
French Canadian Artist & Architect
Named in honor of Harry Leon Causland, Private, Company I, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry DivisionNamed in honor of Harry Leon Causland, Private, Company I, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division“Killed In Action” in 1918, at the Battle of Bantheville Hill, Meuse-Argonne Offensive, France while volunteering to carry ammunition to his comrades. Honored as one of General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing’s “One Hundred Mortals“, he was posthumously awarded America’s second highest medal for valor, The Distinguished Service Cross.
Bandstand Memorial Plaque is dedicated to the 14 service members from Hidalgo, Sinclair, Guemes, Decatur and Cypress Islands located in Washington State, who died in World War 1
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.
On a granite stele are three bronze plaques, a WWI artillery battery in action, emblems of three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the military badges of the Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. It was originally installed in about 1920 to honor the Center Harbor citizens who fought in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and WWI. It was expanded after WWII to include its veterans. In 1992, it was expanded again to honor the veterans of the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars.
"Dedicated to the Residents of Central Valley who Gave Their Services to the the Cause of Humanity"
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.
This memorial is dedicated to those from Cerro Gordo Co IA who fought in World War One and gave their lives. This memorial is at the NE corner of the Cerro Gordo CO Courthouse in Mason City IA
"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)
Memorial trees with six existent commemorative plaques for graduates of Charlotte High School, currently located in Rochester, New York, who died in service in the war. Memorials created by CHS Class of 1921. They are located along former lane on east side of carousel.