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.
The Haledon World War I Honor Roll memorial is a large, rectangular bronze plaque mounted to the side wall of the vestibule of the former, formal entrance to Haledon Public School.
The plaque is bordered by a simple molded frame, marked by a central, bare-chested, classical male figure holding a horizontal, sheathed sword in his crossed arms. His arms rest on a stele covering the left side of his body. An eagle with outstretched wings sits at its base. The figure stands atop a plinth which carries these words: "Erected by the residents of Halendon in memory of those who fought and swerved in the World War 1917-1918" Below the plinth, a base panel honors two Haledon residents who died in the war. The names of the other Haledon residents who served are listed in flanking columns around the figure.
The plaque was designed by the noted Italian American sculptor, Gaetano Federici. Federici was a Paterson, NJ resident; he was responsible for several WWI memorials in the state.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
This is a granite arch, erected as a tribute to the Berlin veterans of World War I.
The World War I Buddy Monument at North Front and Cumberland Streets in Riverfront Park was dedicated Nov. 11, 1922. The doughboy stands atop a 7-ton boulder from the base of Round Top at Gettysburg National Military Park.
This memorial was designed by J. Andre Smith, a World War I veteran, artist, architect and constructed by stone cutter William Keast. It was installed in 1923 and moved slightly to this spot when the new town hall was built in 1966. Plastered in the Stony Creek granite reads “Pro Patria 1917-1918” just below a Distinguished Service Cross. President Woodrow Wilson commissioned Smith, the admired World War I artist, to create the monument, according to the plaque that sits to its left. It was dedicated to those World War 1 servicemen who gave their lives for their country and are buried in a foreign land.
In lacking a physical WWI monument in our town, the American Legion Post 72 has created a memorial exhibition space telling the stories of the town's soldiers through their WWI possessions. Of particular note are the letters and correspondence of the soldiers and their families that relate the humanity of World War I in their own words. Artifacts have been cataloged and stories curated around the objects and their owners. Also, letters have been digitized and narrated to better understand the men behind the soldiers and how the war impacted their sense of identity, their families and the community.
Located in historic downtown Elkhart on Governor Oglesby Street in the current Veterans’ Park, Elkhart’s historic “Order Arms” design WWI Doughboy statue was presented to the Village of Elkhart by the returning veterans of World War I in honor of the soldiers who did not return from the Great War. Eighty-eight citizens from the Village served in WWI and three were killed in action, according to the Village of Elkhart Sesquicentennial record book. The names of those who served in the Great War are on a plaque on the Doughboy. Since then, plaques have been added to the statue with the names of Village veterans from WWII, the Korean War and all veterans killed in action from Elkhart during past wars.
The 16' tall World War I Doughboy statue, crafted from Vermont white marble, is a tribute to those men and women from Cape Girardeau County who gave their all in the Great War. It was erected on Memorial Day, 1925. Forty individuals' names are etched in bronze on the monument base. More recently, research has revealed another seven veterans who earned a place with their brothers and sisters, and a second plaque honors them as well. Of the forty-seven people mentioned, twenty-three were KIA, two were young women and four were African-Americans.
As the centennial of the Versailles Treaty ending WWI was rapidly approaching, the Arizona World War I Memorial, which honors the state’s fallen heroes, needed restoration. Since its dedication in 1969, it has been repeatedly vandalized and marred by disrepair. Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society members, beginning with Terry Araman and David Lucier, actively raised awareness and advocated for a restoration plan. Ahead of the November 11, 2018 centennial, the people of Arizona answered the call and donated the funds needed to replace the missing bronze emblem of the Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A.
Presented to the City of Two Harbors by the Oscar Anderson Post No. 109,
the American Legion, September 1929.
This 250 mm German Minenwerfer howitzer was captured by the Americans in World War I at St. Mihiel, France, September 16, 1918.
This WWI German cannon was presented to the City of Two Harbors in 1929 by the American Legion.
The community of Two Harbors and Lake County have always maintained close relations with its military veterans. Anderson Claffy Post #109 of the American Legion has been contributing to this community since it was organized in 1919. The post was organized honoring the name of Two Harbors native Oscar Anderson who was lost in action at Ypres, France in 1917. The Charter was amended in 1945 to honor the memory of Charles Claffy a sailor lost off the Bataan Peninsula in 1941.
A granite exedra bench supports two bronze figures, a winged angel about to embrace a uniformed soldier. Sculptor Carl Augustus Heber (1875-1956) of New York created this memorial which was dedicated on May 30, 1923 on Courthouse Square to honor the 132 from Marathon County who died in service in World War I; it was moved in 1954 to the grounds of the present courthouse. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Burns Post 388 raised $20,629 from the community to build the statues.
"Erected by the people of Marathon County and Burns Post No. 388 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. in grateful appreciation of the noble sacrifices of those from this county who gave their lives in the World War 1917–1918."
This inscription on this plaque reads:
Dedicated as a lasting tribute to the memory of our men who served the call of their country in the World War erected by the Citizens of Silverton, Ohio
William Altemeier • Andrew Binkley • Frank L. Binkley • Oliver W. Brate • Ralph N. Brown • Clifford J. Carroll • Earl E. Dwire • William J. Dwire - William R. Gould Jr. • Ralph l. Hines • George W. Hutchinson • Frank F. Kassner * • Elmer J. Keitz • E.A. Paul Meshan • Louis H. Meyers • Carl L. Phillips • John F. Pohlman • Eugene Speyer • Albert E. Sprague • Oliver V. Steinman • Fred H. Storch • William S. Thompson • Walter B. Todd • Albert M. Wagner •
This stone "Honor Roll" was erected in 1924 by a local women's club in memory of the citizens of Louisville, CO who served in the Great War. Originally placed in front of the Louisville Town Hall, it is now located in the center of the Louisville Cemetery. It lists the 95 men and one woman who served and who were from the Louisville area at the start of the war (a least 20 additional residents are known to have served in the war but were not listed on the monument at the time of its dedication). Six of the men who served from Louisville died during the war, from illness or accident.
This memorial consists of two maples trees planted at the entrance to the park on the Main Street side, plus a bronze marker honoring the veterans of World War I. The marker reads: PLANTED TO COMMEMORATE THE SERVICES OF OUR MEN OF FOND DU LAC COUNTY IN THE WORLD WAR BY THE FOND DU LAC WOMEN'S CLUB 1930
This memorial is dedicated to the Ridgewood citizens who died during World War I. It consists of a tall, fluted granite column with its lower face marked by a granite plaque and a bas-relief laurel wreath. The column sits atop a three-stepped granite base. On the front of the base is a plaque with the bas-relief bust of a man shown in right profile. The column is crowned by a bronze eagle with its head turned to the right & wings partially spread. The plaque includes an honor roll. The memorial designer, John Oscar Bunce, was a New York-based architect & sculptor; he became known for his role in the planning and erection of new public and private buildings in Paterson following a devastating 1902 fire.
The inscription on the front side of the memorial reads:
World War I
1914 – 1918
Unites States Casualties
126,000 Killed - 234,000 Wounded
This large monument in honor of the men and women from Augusta who served during the Great War was erected in 1929. Frances Loring, a prominent Canadian Sculptor, was the artist who designed the memorial. Mr. and Mrs. George E. Macomber sponsored the memorial. The statue, of a uniformed soldier leaning against a cross, rests atop a granite base with plaques honoring those who served.
On the grounds of the town hall is a memorial dedicated to the local residents who served in WWI.
On a vertical stone slab is a relief of a female figure in classical dress, holding a sword to her chest with one hand and a palm leaf in the other. There is a row of three stars above her head, and Army and Navy insignia are at her feet. She is flanked by low rectangular inscription slabs. This was sculpted hy Albert H. Atkins and erected in 1922 to honor the sons and daughters of Roslindale who served in WWI. A later inscription includes the veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
On a stone boulder is a bronze spread-winged eagle sculpted by F. Ziegler and placed about 100 yards south of here in 1929. It is dedicated to the men of Chatham who served in WWI, and those who died in it are listed on a bronze plaque.
The Laramie World War I Memorial is an eagle-topped monument commemorating those from Albany County and the University of Wyoming who served in World War I, with a separate panel listing 32 men who gave their lives during the war. It was designed by Italian-born sculptor Giuseppe Moretti and was dedicated in October 1924. It stands on the corner of Ivinson Avenue and Sixth Street near the Albany County Courthouse.
LaCrosse's World War I Memorial, located in Veterans Freedom Park, was dedicated in October 2016. It is one of a series of war memorials in the park that honor our nation's veterans.
Located in Memorial Park, this monument was designed by noted sculptor, Charles Keck. The bronze sculpture is of a seated female figure representing Victory. The flag-drapped woman holds a scroll with a list of names, & clutches a helmet at her side.
The memorial was erected with funds solicited from East Orange citizens and was dedicated on Armistice Day 1932.
Narrative adapted from Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) inventory #NJ000243.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
This roadside memorial, unveiled in September 2021, pays homage to those who served at a World War I U.S. Army base in Inishowen, Donegal.
The Naval and Air Station at Ture, Quigley’s Point, was in operation for less than a year but served as a base for a number of attacks against the Germans and housed more than 400 servicemen (see photo of original army base in Pictures Gallery).
A number of local men helped with its construction from January, 1918. The station opened on September 3, 1918, and formally closed on February 22, 1919. During the operational life of the base a total of 27 patrol flights, 12 training flights and 9 test flights were made. Ten convoys were escorted, and two U-boats were attacked. Ten pilots, 10 ground officers and 432 enlisted men were attached to the base.
Local farmer, Gordon Rankin, on whose land the base was built, permitted the erection of three memorial plaques on the entrance to one of the fields that was used for the facility. To this day, the field contains the last remaining building of the base.
The plaques, on the main R238 road between Moville and Muff, give the details of the former base and operations of the five ‘Large America’ Curtiss flying boats that operated there.
This memorial consists of a bronze figure of a World War I soldier standing on a low bronze plinth resting on a two-stage granite base. He has his rifle resting over his right shoulder, and he carries two helmets and a knapsack on his back. On the base is a plaque depicting the profiles of a soldier and a sailor facing each other, grasping a wreath (see pictures gallery). Joseph P. Pollia sculpted this memorial, which was dedicated in 1928 under the direction of American Legion Post 34.