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 granite memorial is located in Riverside Park overlooking the Niagara River and is dedicated to Buffalo residents who fought in the First World War. It features a bronze plaque attached to the front which reads as follows:
"Erected by the grateful people of the 21st Ward. In memory of these, our heroes, who gave their lives for our country and in honor of our soldiers and sailors in the World War." That is followed by 40 names.
These two stone pillars mark the gateway to the Road of Remembrance, which was envisioned as a tree-lined road welcoming veterans of World War I and their families into the community with open arms. The pillars were erected by the Lions Club in 1928. On the east side of the northern of the two pillars, club members placed a plaque which still reads, “Road of Remembrance Gateway, In Honor of Those Who Served in the World War, Erected by the Lions Club of Boulder.” The site is called Nine Mile Corner for its place nine miles south of Longmont and nine miles east of Boulder. Financial difficulties prevented the construction in the late 1920s of a planned nine-mile WWI "Road of Remembrance" between Erie and Boulder. But the two sizable, quasi-Romanesque memorial pillars that were intended to serve as the road's gateway in Erie remain standing.
Robert Lester Blackwell was born on October 4, 1895, and was the son of a tenant farmer. On October 11, 1918, near St. Souplet, France, his unit (Co. K 119th Infantry 30th Division) was cut off and faced destruction. The officer in charge sent a man for help and he was killed. He sent another and he was killed. Then he called for volunteers and Blackwell tried to get through. He lost his life. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The memorial is sponsored by the Lester Blackwell Post 138.
Memorial listing all Rochelle Park Residents that served during WWI
The Rock of the Marne monument, designed by famed sculptor Roland Hinton Perry, located at the American Legion Post 79 on 540 High Street, is at the entryway to Burlington City. This statue continues to commemorate the loss lives and broken families of World War I as “the war to end all wars.” It portrays an American “Doughboy” ready to protect and defend. The statue was dedicated in memory of the dead from the 38th Infantry Regiment. The sculptor, Roland Hinton Perry, had a national reputation: Before his death in 1941, his work included two memorable statues at Gettysburg and the elaborate Court of Neptune fountain at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The monument consists of a copper WWI soldier in uniform with his front foot anchored on a rock. The soldier holds an angled rifle with bayonet, and has a pack against his chest. The monument, in front of the VFW Memorial Hall, is flanked by several other war memorials. Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office. Night photo - Nicholas J. Cuozzo . Vintage postcard - Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
The Daniel M. O'Connell Post 272 of the American Legion dedicated this Joseph P. Pollia sculpture on November 11, 1927, as a tribute to those who died in WWI.
3-acre site being developed in phases that will cover the involvement of the US military from 1900 to the present. Sections specific to World War 1 are planned.
To commemorate those who, at the call of country, left all, endured hardships, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty, giving up their lives that others might live in freedom. A list of 49 names of men from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County who died in service during World War I.
Rolette County planned in 1930 to levy $10,000 each year until it raised $22,000 for a community building. Ernest R. Boyd designed Memorial Hall with an auditorium and stage/gymnasium, meeting rooms, and a kitchen. The memorial was dedicated on June 15, 1932 and in 2017, the building houses the Rolette City Library while also still functioning as a community gathering space.
Pictures by Kevin W. at https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=20870
In May 1939 the Navy Department donated a 4.7 field piece to the American Legion Westmoreland County Post 148. This gun was transported to the Post Lot on Colonial Avenue across opposite the Dance Pavilion in June. In October 1939 the field piece was moved the triangle of property across from the Catholic Church, said property being owned by the Town. The Post also placed blocks under the field piece and painted the field piece in December. In March 1940, the Post requested permission from the Mayor to erect a flagpole at that location. In September 1942 the War Production Board requested the Post sell the field piece and turn it into scrap to help in the drive for old scrap iron. The membership voted to give the field piece to the authorities at Fort Belvoir if they would haul it away. On Sunday, October 5, 1947 at 2pm the War Memorial was finally dedicated after many years of planning and fundraising. One plaque containing the names of World War I & II veterans was secured to a marble base. Admiral C. Turner Joy and Mayor W.D. Williams officiated. In 1950 another gun was requested. The gun was the three inch gun currently at the Memorial. To date, additional names from other conflicts have yet to be added. In 1989 the Memorial was renovated. From the Journal Press NOVEMBER 7, 1989. Renovation of Colonial Beach War Memorial in progress Donations needed for plaques by L. Coates "Each brick is carefully nudged into place. An eagle eye ascertains whether its a perfect fit. An additional tap causes the bubble in the level to hit dead center. Such precision, such time consuming effort. For several hours each day; off and on over the course of two years, this labor of love for all veterans has been undertaken by Reverend Robert Lawrence and numerous associates. Their goal has been the renovation of the Colonial Beach War Memorial. Built in 1947 to honor â€˜the Colonial Beach Boys' who served in World War I, World War II and the Merchant Marines, the memorial was on the verge of devastation. "The ground was giving way and there were cracks in it," noted Frances Karn Karn only has to peer out her porch window to see the memorial that her late brother, James D. Karn, was instrumental in having built. In the past few years, Reverend Lawrence, Tommy Salingrer, Bob Bristow, the late Irie S. Nichols, the late David Tubbs, the late Lawrence Torrence, the late Lloyd Thomas, Carlton Garrett, Marvin Cowan, Don Warner, Bill Timms, A1 Hicks and many others have joined forces to see that the memorial stood intact. They have since succeeded in building steps to the memorial, are currently working on paving the entire base and hope to install a sidewalk and handrail in the near future. The ultimate goal, noted Karn, is to add plaques to recognize the local men who served in the armed forces during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The late Jimmy Karn, a young man with Bulber polio, who spent many an hour writing to the men over seas, sending them newspaper clippings and writing articles about the servicemen in a local paper, spearheaded the effort for the memorial. L. C. Costenbader, Mayor of Colonial Beach at the time, was able to get the state to. donate a triangle of land on a beachfront street in Colonial Beach for the memorial. E.E. McCartney, a retired Naval Chief and Commander of the American Legion Post, was able to obtain a gun from a World War lI ship that completes the memorial. While many a child, and adults, too, are attracted to that tremendous gun, a plaque inscribed with numerous names, brings home the reason for the gun being placed there. Dedicated on October 5, 1947, the memorial is a result of numerous pledges by the community. In recent years, an additional $4802 has been raised to restore the memorial. Ms. Karn noted however, that those funds were dwindling fast. "There is probably enough left to finish the block work," she said, "but a lot more is needed for the memorial part itself (the additional plaques)." Kam noted that the free labor provided by the previously mentioned men along with donations of mortar sand from Bowie's Sand and Gravel (George and Marie Bowie) and other donations have kept the restoration efforts alive. Karn tries to supply the workers with drinks as often as possible. Others often provide lunch. Of the volunteer efforts Karn says "It's such a wonderful community thing. How many people do you know would get on their hands and knees and do that?" With cold weather approaching, Reverend Lawrence noted that his work will have to cease until the spring."
Roughly 2' x 4' in size, this bronze plaque lists 514 names of "Our Boys" who served during WWI. The design of the plaque has an Army bugler at the top left, a centerpiece with an eagle, flag, title, and olive branches, and at right is a sailor saluting with a rifle. It was donated by the Union Service League of Lisbon and hangs in the main lobby of the Ransom County Courthouse.
On the main floor of the Kidder County Courthouse near the entrance is a 24"x38" plaque honoring those who served in World War I from Kidder County. The plaque lists 83 names of "Our Boys" below a section with a bugler on the left, an eagle and flag in the middle, and a soldier with a gun on the right in bas relief. The plaque also includes the dates of the U.S. participation in the war, April 6, 1917 until November 11, 1918
The courthouse was built in 1922, replacing an older one. The monument is dated to 1928.
Note the cut off log behind the statue; this is a funerary symbol for a life cut short.
The striking rose window in the façade of Morristown’s Church of the Redeemer is dedicated as a memorial to those who returned from World War I. Built in 1917, the pudding stone, Gothic Revival church was designed by the NY architectural firm, Parish & Schroeder.
The stained glass rose window features elaborate stone tracery radiating from a central stone quatrefoil containing the Greek letters, Alpha and Omega. Radiating spokes form the stems of elaborate leaves, each of which has a central stained glass shield. Between the spokes are six stained glass figures, possibly representing Apostles. The beautiful window is placed within a circular quarry-faced stone surround. The window was designed & fabricated by the English firm of Heaton, Butler & Bayne.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
This veterans' cemetery (actually composed of 25 separate cemeteries) is located just outside Roslyn, WA and contains a memorial for those "who made the supreme sacrifice" during WW1. Machine guns originally stood where the flower pots are in the above photo, but they were stolen in the 1990s. The photo gallery contains closeups of the memorial, a photo of the cemetery in general, and a photo of a board showing historical information about the cemetery.