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 memorial site is dedicated to all Mohican veterans. The plaque bearing the dedication reads:
“A Memorial before the Great Spirit
to all veterans
who served – who fought – who died – who returned and carry on
Dedicated by the Mohican veterans
The Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium opened in November 1925 and it seats approximately 5,000 people. Local architects Glenn Allen and Wright & Satterlee were awarded construction, while Stocktonians conducted bond drives to fund construction of the Memorial Auditorium to honor those who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces in World War I. An inscription at the top of the exterior wall states: "To the men of Stockton, California who gave their lives in World War I."
George Stevens created this sculpture. It was originally dedicated on August 20, 1949, with a silver-painted wooden bald eagle, with wings outstretched and perched atop a concrete and granite base. A cast aluminum one replaced it in 1951. On a granite slab in front of the base is an inscription that honors those from Stone County who died during WWI, WWII and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
An unknown sculptor created this life-size metal WWI doughboy, holding binoculars in his left hand. He wears a belted trench coat and has a hand gun holstered on his right hip. On his other hip is a knapsack. The statue was first dedicated in 1910 to honor the veterans of WW I and sat in front of the home of Jerry Rickets on Meadowbrook Ln. It has been moved three times, and as of 1997, the concrete original was still in existence, in the Stow Safety Building.
This monument, dedicated in 1931, is a life-sized bronze statue of a WWI soldier dressed in a field uniform, carrying a jacket over his right arm and a helmet and rifle in the other. Beneath is a multi-tiered granite base decorated with inscribed plaques listing the 41 men of Suffolk and Nansemond County who died during World War I. The inscription reads:
In memory of the men of Suffolk and Nansemond County who gave their lives in the World War
They sought not glory, but their country’s good and died that right, which is more precious than peace, might prevail.
This tablet is erected as a tribute to the men of Suffolk and Nansemond County, Virginia who died in the service of their country in the Great War.
Ernest Baker • Hinton A. Darden • Claud D. Daughtrey • Gilliam Edwards • Charles O. Edwards • Enos H. Fretz • Reuben P. Gardner • James H. Gomer • Thomas C. Hamilton • George R. Harcum • Vernon M. Herrick • George A. Holloman • Herbert R. Holloman • Clarence E. Horton • Henry V. Jernigan • Clarence Jones • David J. Lassiter • Meigs M. Lassiter • Mitchell F. Lloyd • Sidney T. Norfleet • William E. Odom • Richard E. Parker • David L. Pitt • Bernard Radford • Herbert B. Ragsdale • Harry M. Richards • Charles L. Scott • Sam Turner • William A. Walters • Edward B. Walton • Johnnie N. Whedbee. COLORED William Anthony • Elijah Baker • John Brinkley • Berry Dunning • Ben Freeman • Arthur Geter • Willie L. Lee • Monroe Lloyd • John H. Nichols • Rosser Spivey
Those who die for love of country sleep peacefully. Those who live to "carry on" hold high the torch that lights the flame of patriotism in the hearts of our children.
This monument was located originally at the intersection of North Main Street and Milner Road (probably, present-day Constance Road). It was later moved to Cedar Hill Cemetery’s entrance due to an increase in traffic.
The inscription on this memorial, erected in 1922 by Summit Hill Schools, reads:
TO THE VETERANS OF
THE WORLD WAR.
UPON RIGHT, RELIANT
AGAINST WRONG, DEFIANT.
This E. M. Viquesney Spirit of the American Doughboy statue, sitting on a base of Georgia granite, was dedicated on November 21, 1921 at the intersection of Lee and Lamar Streets, and was moved during World War II to its present site. It honors the men of Sumter Country who died in World War I. It depicts a life-sized copper WWI infantryman, in a running stance, amidst the barbed wire and stumps of No Man's Land.
The bronze plaque on base of statue reads: “Sumter County affectionately remembers her sons who died, and those who offered themselves, as willing sacrifices in the cause of our country. 1917*World War*1918.
Sunrise Peoples Monument to World War I, World War II, Korea & Vietnam
The residents of Chestertown erected a monument here in 1989 to honor the local veterans who served in four American wars.
The Veterans Memorial was designed to honor local native and non-native individuals who have served in the armed forces. The site overlooks the Community House and has views to Mt. Rainier and the waters of Agate Pass. At its heart of the design are four House Posts carved by a local tribal artist Andrea Sigo. These House Posts welcome visitors to view the granite canoes, located on a low wall with names of local service members. The site offers the perfect context for one Suquamish myth “Sea to Sky,” the same quote that was carved in a previous Totem commissioned and located on this site during the 1960 Seattle World’s Fair.
This Veterans Memorial building was erected in 1926 in honor of all World War I veterans and future veterans who have served the U.S. and Lassen County, CA.
On a square granite flagpole base is a bronze inscription plaque with the images of eagles pushed on each corner. This honors the men of Swampscott who died in WWI, and their names are listed on the plaque, erected in about 1930.
Cast bronze statue by Mose Sawyer (J. W. Fiske Iron Works, founder) on a fieldstone base.
Found in the center of Bunning Park, this Viquesney's Spirit of the Doughboy Statue stands tall and proud. At the base are the names of Sweetwater County residents who died in World War 1.
It was in 1918, at 7:40pm when the first of a series of explosions spanning two days went off in Building 6-1-1 of the TA Gillespie Shell Loading Plant in rural Morgan, NJ. The building contained equipment which melted and poured Amatol - a Trinitrotoluol (TNT)-based explosive - into 155mm artillery shells for shipment to France for use in WWI.
The remains of 14-18 unfortunate souls, who were so badly disintegrated by the blasts, were buried in a mass grave in nearby Ernst Memorial Cemetery (Parlin, NJ). The task of trying to identify the unidentifiable and to witness & certify each burial fell to South Amboy resident, Michael Nagel, who later became the Commander of American Legion Luke A. Lovely Post #62.
In 1929, 11 years after the blast, the South Amboy Lions Club erected this monument at the site of the 20' x 35' grave.
Narrative adapted from Morgan, NJ website.
Photos courtesy of:
Gillespie Explosion crater 1918 & Power House - Atlas Obscura
Locomotive - National Archives
Morgan residents fleeing - New York Times
Monument - NJ State Historic Preservation Office
The Talerhoff Internment Camp Memorial was erected in 1964 by members of the Russian-American community to pay tribute to the memory of the men & women placed in the Austrian camp during World War I.
Jackson, NJ has a Russian community due to the employees at the Russian ordinance proving grounds in adjacent Lakehurst, NJ. These were "White Russians," originating from Minsk (today's Belarus) around the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. These citizens formed the Russian Consolidated Mutual Aid Society of America (ROVA), who helped create this memorial.
This monument consists of a granite tapered pillar atop a two-tiered rectangular stone base. It has two identical sides - one in English, the other in Russian - consisting of a relief of the Russian Orthodox cross encircled in a laurel wreath above an inscription dedicating the monument.
Photos courtesy of: Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission
The first WW I Memorial built in 1921 was knocked in 1992. The Navel Deck gun & WW I Plaque were moved to the Tannersville War Memorial. Since 2014 American Legion Post 903 has been rebuilding & adding on to the Memorial.
*Donations supporting the war memorial beautification project can be mailed to American Legion Post 903, P.O. Box 580, Mount Pocono, PA 18344, or by visiting americanlegionpost903.com.