The City of Smyrna Veterans Memorial Park is a expansive area with large, inscribed granite walls anchoring one end of the park. The portion of the inscription dedicated to WW1 lists seventeen names. These are included in the Memorial Database located elsewhere on this website. The inscription above the names reads: “To Secure the Blessings of Liberty - Those Who Died in Service to Their Country.”
Granite Marker - Inscription: “This Memorial Dedicated by the Douglas Lions Club to perpetuate the memory of our valiant citizens who sacrificed their lives for God and country while serving in our armed forces.” The WW1 section in inscribed with nine names.
On the Colquitt County Courthouse grounds, granite monument with eternal flame. This memorial is inscribed with 32 service members that died in WW1. Those from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam are also listed.
Inscription: “To the Memory of Colquitt County Men Who Served During Time of War and Died in Service.”
Granite memorial marker with names of those that died from this country in WWI, WWII, and Korea. There are 4 names listed under WWI.
Inscription: “Woodman of the World Memorial. In sacred memory of the men of Columbia County who made the supreme sacrifice.”
A historical marker commemorates the first African-American aviator from World War I. It reads: “Eugene J. Bullard, 1896-1961. Bullard grew up in a small shotgun style house near this site. His father, William, was a laborer for the W. C. Bradley Company. Eugene completed the fifth grade at the 28th Street School. Shaken by the death of his mother, Josephine, and the near lynching of his father, Bullard left Columbus as a young teenager. In 1912, he stowed-away on a merchant ship out of Norfolk, Virginia. He spent the next 28 years of his life in Europe. Erected by the Historic Columbus Foundation and Historic Chattahoochee Commission 2007”
One of ten children of an impoverished Columbus family, he stowed away on a ship to Scotland when a teenager. Settling in Paris, he became a boxer and worked in a music hall. Enlisting at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, as a volunteer from overseas he was assigned to French colonial troops. He saw combat on the Somme front as a machine gunner, and later at Artois and the second Champagne offensive. After heavy losses by the French Foreign Legion, Bullard was allowed to transfer to the 170th Line Infantry Regiment, which eventually was sent to Verdun, where he was seriously wounded in 1916. After recovering, he volunteered that fall for the French Air Service as an air gunner. Following training, he received his pilot’s license in May 1917, and flew with the LaFayette Flying Corps, Escadrille N.93 and N.85, taking part in some twenty combat missions. His reputation grew as the “Black Swallow of Death.”
When the U.S. entered the war, Bullard stood the medical examination to serve in the LaFayette Flying Corps as part of the American Expeditionary Force, but was not accepted, as only white pilots were allowed to serve. He served beyond the Armistice, not being discharged until October 24, 1919, and was awarded the Croix de guerre, among 15 awards from the French government.
Living in Paris between the wars, he worked as a drummer and nightclub manager, eventually owning his own club, gaining famous friends including Louis Armstrong and Langston Hughes. When Germany again invaded France in May 1940, Bullard fled Paris with his two surviving daughters from a marriage which had ended in divorce. Volunteering in defense of Orleans, he was wounded, but escaped to neutral Spain and then went to the United States.
Never fully recovering from his war wound, and finding that his French fame did not follow him home, he worked for a while as an interpreter for Louis Armstrong. With a financial settlement from the destruction of his Paris nightclub in the war, he bought an apartment in Harlem. He was among those attacked and injured during the infamous Peerskill riots of 1949. His final job was as an elevator operator at Rockefeller Center.
In 1954, the French government invited him to participate in the rekindling of the eternal flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, and in 1960 he was made a knight of the Legion of Honor. Spending his final years in relative obscurity and poverty in New York City, he died in 1961 at age 66. He is buried in the French War Veterans’ section of Flushing Cemetery in Queens, New York.
On August 23, 1994, 33 years after his death, and 77 years to the day after the physical that should have allowed him to fly for his own country, Eugene Bullard was posthumously commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Decorative brass plaque at the entrance to the old Coweta County Courthouse for those of WW1. Listed are 34 names, including a separate “Colored” listing.
Inscription: “ In honor of the men and women of Coweta County, who served their country in the Great War, for world-wide liberty, and in memory of the following who gave their lives. 1917 - 1919.”
“Erected by the Sara Dickinson Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution Newnan Georgia 1920.”
Bronze plaque on granite stone at Crisp County Courthouse.
Inscriptoin: “ Dedicated May 30, 2002, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4742. As a memorial to all Crisp County veterans who served their country in past wars and conflicts. May they never be forgotten for their sacrifice and devotion to duty.”
Located at Lake Blackshear, the Georgia Veterans State Park has a memorial section and a military museum.