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.
This large flagpole rests in an ornate bronze base, which sits atop a granite memorial. The monument is dedicated to the sons of Bowdoin who lost their lived in World War I, and the various sides of the granite monument are inscribed with an Honor Roll. The inscriptions are finished in gold paint. The monument is located on the main quad, directly in front of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
Bowdoin College refurbished the monument in 2014, and added a much larger flag.
This memorial is dedicated to the servicemembers of Box Elder County "who sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom and liberty in the great World Wars." The base of the soldier statue features three bronze plaques: one listing the names of the fallen in both World Wars, one listing the fallen from the conflicts since WW2, and one reading: Freedom Is Not Free: In Solemn Recognition Of The Sacrifices And Leadership Of The Men And Women Of Box Elder County Who Gave Their Lives To Preserve A Free Society, Built The Peace And Gave To Future Generations The Precious Gift Of Freedom.
The memorial is located in front of the Boyd County NE Courthouse
Named in memory of PVT William C.N. Boylen CD.L 101st Infantry 26th DIV A.E.F. killed at vaux. Chateau thierry second battle of the marine July 20, 1918
First Melrose man with the American Forces killed in action in the World War
This monument lists the names of the boys of St. Peters parish in Mt. Clemens, MI. that served their country in The Great War from 1917-1918.
World War I was a global war which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914 to 1918.
World War I Monument/Joan of Arc (sculpture)
Is described as Full-length figure of Joan of Arc dressed in armor and standing in contrapposto (weight-bearing leg, proper right). She gazes towards sky. Proper right hand grips the pole of a flag or banner; proper left rests on the upper edge of a shield which is balanced upright, tip resting on the ground, behind bent proper left leg. Shield emblazoned with upright sword, pommel down, and crown, flanked by fleurs-de-lis. Figure wears a sword, belted to hips and slung behind legs. Between the feet, a spiked war club lies on the ground.
The statue is made from zinc or lead with a granite base.
Statue: approx. 8 x 2 x 2 ft. Base: approx. 8 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 ft.
An inscription of Deprato Foundry Co. unsigned Founder's mark appears. Other than that there is a bronze plaque (SE Side) which reads;
This Monument erected to perpetuate the memory of the boys of St. Peter’s Parish. Mount Clemens, Mich who served their country in the world war 1917-1918
(then listed are 178 names, of which 5 died and 8 were wounded)
This memorial stands right in the center of Main Street in Bradley, South Dakota.
The concrete base is about 4 feet high with a flagpole attached.
The inscription reads as follows:
Our Honor Roll
Dedicated by the Citizens of Bradley and Surrounding Area to Those of Their Number Who Offered Their Lives in the Great War of Nations 1914 -1918 and In Memory of Those Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice.
This is a plaque in a park dedicated to several war memorials. It honors those from Branch County, Michigan, who gave their lives in The World War for their country.There are several guns on display as well, demonstrating the various types of weaponry used throughout the years. One pair was dedicated in 1988, honoring those who served.
Monument honoring the men of Braxton County who served in the First World War.
Adjacent to the Courthouse, this memorial honors all Breathitt Countians who served or paid the supreme sacrifice during World War I. During the war, Breathitt County attained national prominence by filling its quota of service men by volunteers. No men had to be drafted from Breathitt, the only county in the United States with this record.
The inscription reads:
World War I
April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918
Dedicated to all Breathitt Countians who served “over there” in the “war to end all wars”. To all those who supported the war effort in any fashion and in memory of the following who gave their lives to make the world safe for democracy.
Marion Adkins · George Baker · George Brewer · Charley Campbell · Jesse Carpenter · Jesse Centers · John Dale · Garfield Deaton · James Fugate · Wm W Gillum · Jarrett Grigsby · Willie Grigsby · Roscoe Gross · Charles B. Hall · Edward Cuerrant Hargis · Robert W. Hill · Joel Lee · Curtis Linden · South McIntosh · James Noble · Willie Oney · Moore Riley · Price Roark · Fred Smith · Ashford Watts · Samuel Wells · Pearl G. Wireman · Linden Wyatt
Erected in 1927 by the Breckinridge County Memorial Association, the inscription on this Honor Roll reads:
★ Honor Roll ★
In memory of the Breckinridge County
heroes of the World's War, 1914-1918
George W. Ahl • Johnie Brown • Corbett J. Burch • Walter V. Burnett • Claude E. Cundiff • Earl Curry • Roy Dowell • Henry H. Drane • Joseph Z. Dunn • Lonnie Durbin • James Durbin • William Eskridge • Henry Eskridge • Henry Byron Hall • H. Everette Haycraft • Charles Hanks • Lewis H. Herndon • Thomas Higdon • Henry W. Johnson • Verdie Johnson • Arthur W. Kannapel • James C. Lampton • Willie Lucas • Lennie A. Mattingly • Peter S. McCarty • Neil Moore • Roy E. Moorman • Delbert D. Morgan • Joseph E. Schindler • Clarence H. Tincher • James R. Willis • Fulton Whitworth
Text on the central granite plaque reads as follows:
For Those Who Have Given
Life, Limb and Soul,
So We Might Enjoy
Followed by Images of the Official Seals of U.S. Military Branches of Service:
Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard & Merchant Marine
WWI Honor Roll on the grounds of the former Bridgewater Village School, listing the names of the locals who served during the war.
In grateful recognition of the Valor and Devotion of
the young men of this Community
who served in the World War
for Liberty and Justice
1917 – 1919
This small collection of military artifacts includes photo albums, uniforms, communications, equipment, and field artillery from WWI, WWII, the Seventh Signal Command, and the action in Grenada. There is also information regarding the historv of the fort itself.
It began as Camp Ritchie in 1926, a camp of the Maryland National Guard. During WWII, it was used for training by the Army's Military Intelligence Division, it was also used by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), training agents in the use of explosives and guns.
The memorial name is Bronze statue @ Indianapolis Inter. Airport
Bronze statue @ Indianapolis Inter. Airport. Donation by Weir Cook Memorial Project in memory to Col. Cook
This memorial, which honors those local heroes from Red Hook who died while serving their country in World War I, was dedicated in 1921. Augustus Lukeman (1872–1935) was the sculptor commissioned by a war memorial committee, which solicited voluntary contributions totaling $10,000 from the citizens of the Third Assembly District for the sculpture. Arthur D. Pickering was the architect who designed the granite pedestal.
The derivation of the term doughboy remains in question. It was first used by the British in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to describe soldiers and sailors. In the United States the nickname was coined during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), and was widely popularized during World War I (1914–1918) to refer to infantrymen. After the war, in which Americans saw combat in 1917-18, numerous communities commissioned doughboy statues to honor the local war heroes. The Red Hook Doughboy was one of nine such statues erected in New York City’s parks.
The sculptor Augustus Lukeman was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1872, and studied art with the well-known American sculptors Launt Thompson and Daniel Chester French, and at the famous École des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. He had a prolific career, and was affiliated with many arts organizations, including the National Sculpture Society, National Academy of Design, and the Architectural League. In New York City, his works also include the Prospect Park World War I Memorial (1921) on which Pickering also collaborated, and the Straus Memorial (1915) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Lukeman depicts the doughboy in an active pose, head held triumphantly upright, his hat held aloft, and a rifle slung over his shoulder. Over time the monument suffered from weathering and vandalism. The bronze honor roll tablet was stolen around 1971. In 1972, custody of the monument was transferred to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5195, located at 321-325 Van Brunt Avenue in Brooklyn. At that time the bronze statue was cleaned, the pedestal recut, and a new honor roll fabricated.
Installed in 1919, this stone stele has attached to it a commemorative plaque. lt was donated by the Albany Heights Patriotic league as a tribute to the men from the Albany Heights District who died in service in WWI.
The Brown County World War I Memorial, honoring those who served, fought, and died in World War I, was placed at Brownwood High School in 1921 with funds raised by the Brownwood HS Class of 1921. This was a sacred memorial to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars. In 2016, the memorial was restored and moved to a new site in the 36th Division Memorial Park. The restored memorial included the old World War I Memorial along with a new granite tablet with the names of the 39 Brown County veterans who died in World War I, a new plaque with the wording from the old World War I Memorial that had become difficult to read, and another new plaque telling about the original World War I Memorial. The profound words on the original World War I Memorial were these:
To those men from Brown County
Who rendered valiant service in the world war;
Who feared not;
Who believed in the sacred principles
Upon which this republic is founded;
Who preferred death to slavery;
Who signified a willingness to give their lives
And to perpetuate democracy;
This monument is reverently dedicated.
In 1923 plans were drawn up for a memorial at the Myrtle Avenue entrance to Forest Park’s main thoroughfare, signifying a new “Memorial Drive,” and 70 pine trees were planted to commemorate those from the neighboring community who died in combat during World War I. This monument, including a sculpture of a soldier, an ornamental flagstaff and bronze honor rolls, honors their valor and sacrifice. A gift of the Richmond Hill War Memorial Committee and the Gold Star Mothers Association of Richmond Hill, the monument was dedicated on November 10, 1925.
The sculpture by Joseph Pollia (1893-1954) represents a standard infantryman known as a “doughboy.” This name is commonly attributed to the rudimentary biscuits consumed by troops, though derivation of the term doughboy remains in question. It was first used by the British in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to describe soldiers and sailors. In the United States, the nickname was coined during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and was widely popularized during World War I (1914-1918) to refer to infantrymen. After the war, in which Americans saw combat in 1917-18, numerous communities commissioned doughboy statues to honor the local war heroes.
The Richmond Hill War Memorial is one of nine such doughboy statues erected in New York City’s parks. Pollia’s conception depicts a mournful soldier whose head is bowed in contemplation, his rifle and helmet slung over his right arm. Some observers have noted the resemblance of the subject to silent film star Francis X. Bushman, whom Pollia may have used as a model for the statue. The sculpture has also been referred to as My Buddy.
The monument was designed by William Van Alen (1882-1954), who is best known as the architect of Manhattan’s famed Chrysler Building. Italian-born sculptor Pollia was responsible for nearly two dozen public monuments, and also sculpted in 1936 the statue of General Sheridan in Christopher Park in Manhattan. Pollia sold a second cast of My Buddy to the Storm Lake Service Star Legion in Storm Lake, Iowa, and it was installed in that city’s Chautauqua Park in 1926.
The adjoining flagstaff, dedicated in 1926, includes a pedestal of granite with ornamental bronze elements including decorative waves, garlands and acanthus leaves, as well as ram’s heads. In 1987 the adjacent oval plaza was dedicated to Sergeant Joseph E. Schaefer (1918-1987), a resident of Richmond Hill who distinguished himself in World War II, and in 2001 the City restored the Richmond Hill War Memorial and flagstaff.
At the dedication ceremony in 1925, Queens Parks Commissioner Albert C. Benninger accepted the memorial on behalf of the City, and the sculpture was unveiled by Mrs. Mathilda Burling, President of the Richmond Hill Mothers Association. The proceedings were disrupted by a rain storm, and were transferred to a nearby auditorium. The chief speaker, United States Senator Royal S. Copeland used the occasion to comment on a proposed government takeover of the coal industry, and commented, “Someone has said that the purpose of government is to protect property…I believe that the people in general hold that the purpose of government should be to protect humanity.” Several generations later, the Richmond Hill War Memorial still stands as a tangible reminder of those who fought in defense of this principle.
This small memorial is located in Mc Phelemy Park in Buena Vista, Colorado. The memorial consists of an obelisk with the names of the fallen engraved on the base.
The Buffalo Soldier Museum in Houston is dedicated to displaying and exploring the stories and contributions of African-American soldiers in the U.S. military. On November 10, 2018, this World War I centennial memorial to the Texas and Houston African-American soldiers who served in the Great War was unveiled, a long overdue tribute to the men and women who served in combat and labour to defend the freedoms abroad that they did not enjoy at home.