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.
GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS THAT / A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS /---/ ERECTED 1926 BY THE PEOPLE OF LONG ISLAND CITY / IN HONOR OF ALL THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR 1914-1918
This memorial in Pershing Point Park is dedicated to residents of Fulton County who died in World War I and is named for Gen. John Pershing. It is located at Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets in Midtown Atlanta.
Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori
This memorial, located on the campus of Auburn University near Samford Hall, consists of a small square stone topped with a bronze shield. The metal plaque on the top of the stone reads:
"In memory of the Auburn men who gave their lives in the World War"
On the front side of the stone the following appears:
"Erected by D.A.R. Chapter 1919"
The World War I Audenarde American Monument is located in the town of Oudenaarde (Audenarde), Belgium. The monument of golden-yellow limestone, bearing the shield of the United States flanked by two stone eagles, stands at the end of a small park. It commemorates the service and sacrifice of the 40,000 American troops who, in October and November 1918, fought in the vicinity as units attached to the Group of Armies commanded by the King of Belgium. The inscription on the Audenarde Monument reads:
Erected by the United States of America to commemorate the services of American troops who fought in this vicinity Oct. 30–Nov. 11, 1918
The 37th and 91st Divisions are the units honored. In mid-October 1918, they joined the Group of Armies of Flanders, commanded by Albert I, King of the Belgians. Both divisions participated in the offensive from near Waregem toward the Scheldt River, beginning October 31. The 37th Division reached the Scheldt River on November 1 and crossed on November 2. The 91st Division entered Audenarde on November 2 and 3. Both divisions were relieved by November 5. They resumed action in the front line on November 10, and were east of Audenarde when the Armistice became effective on November 11. American casualties from fighting in this region are interred at the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem, located 10 miles to the west.
The Grove runs several blocks in the median of Central Avenue from Troup Street to Monte Sano Avenue, and includes a marker commemorating Augusta residents who fell during World War I.
“In Sacred memory of the Men of Richmond County Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice - World War 1”
“Erected By Woodlawn Camp No. 55 Woodman of the World”
This World War I Memorial in the Greene Street median in downtown Augusta pays honors to veterans of The Great War with the following inscription:
"The men of Richmond County, of every creed and color, who served at their country's call that aggression and lawless force should not dominate the world."
The reverse side of the monument says: What stands if freedom fall? - Kipling 1914
The tall, slender obelisk topped by a figure of an eagle was erected in 1940 by the Richmond County Association.
The "Ivy Division" is a unit with a proud history dating to World War I. In December 1941, the 4th was the first unit assigned to Camp (now Fort) Gordon after its move to Augusta from DeKalb County. The monument lists the many battles in which the soldiers of the 4th distinguished themselves, including:
The 4th was the first unit of US. Troops to land on Utah Beach Normandy France 6 June 1944
This World War I memorial, at the front entrance to Austin High School, consists of a block of Texas pink granite with a bronze plaque affixed, set in a landscaped Texas Lone Star made of Austin Chalk limestone. The plaque reads as follows:
In Honor of the Boys of
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL
Who Served in the World War.
William B. Basford
Carl Stone Benedict
Edgar L. Bergstrom
Richard P. Bull
Marvin A. Caldwell
Leroy E. Creaton
Albert S. MacDonnell
Eugene D. Penn
Charles E. Pinckney
Walter T. Scherding
Thomas Roy Taylor
H. Grady Turner
Arthur E. Wilkins
On May 30, 1922, the Austin Reedy Post 97 of the Montana American Legion dedicated a WWl Memorial Statue. It was in honor of the men who died during service in WWl. Austin Reedy was the first war casualty. Some of these men did not die in battle, but were members of the Armed Services at during WWl. All men were from what is now Lincoln County Montana. Libby is the County Seat. The Statue is on the corner of Mineral Ave. and Lincoln Blvd. Since it's dedication it has been a rallying point for parades, speeches and community events. All soldiers originally met at the monument on Decoration (Memorial ) Day and marched to the Cemetery for Remembrance Services.
PLANTED BY / 159 MEMBERS OF THE YOUNG / AUSTRALIA LEAGUE, / AS AN AUSTRALIAN TRIBUTE / TO AMERICA'S GLORIOUS DEAD, / MARCH 14, 1929 /
Photo courtesy of Phil Luciano / Journal Star
This memorial consists of a 25-foot-tall Greco-Roman column with a bronze eagle on top. The column's base contains four bronze plaques listing the names of WW1 servicemembers. For more information about the history and upkeep of the memorial, visit the "101 Things That Play in Peoria" website linked above.
The War Heroes Memorial Monument is on the high school campus, so if you visit, you must check-in with the school office. This is a very moving Memorial Monument to visit. The sculpture is subdued but says more than many larger monuments and memorials I have seen and the sentiments on the granite pillars speak volumes in a very few words.
The plaques on the back side of the Memorial lists the names of island residents who “Made The Supreme Sacrifice” in defense of our nation. As you face the monument, the names on the right plaque were lost in World War 1, Korea and Vietnam. On the left side, the entire plaque lists those lost in World War 2.
Left side: Right side:
THEY FOUGHT HERE WITH
FOR US ONE ACCORD
FOR US WE DO THEM
THEY FELL HONOR
ERECTED BY THE / CITIZENS OF THIS COMMVNITY / IN GRATEFVL MEMORY / OF THE MEN OF THIS VICINITY / WHO SERVED IN / THE WORLD WAR / 1917-1918 / DEDICATED SEPT. 5, 1921 /
A row of granite markers with each inscribed with local deaths for the Korean War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Seven names are listed on the WWI stone.
A center stone is inscribed: “Oh Lord, support us all the day long until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in thy mercy grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last”.
A brass plaque mounted on the back retaining wall is inscribed:
“Flame of Freedom” Dedicated to the veterans of all wars from Milledgeville and Baldwin County on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the American Legion. March 15, 1969, Warren & Hawkins Post 523. The American Legion. W.T. Collier, Cmdr., LW. Oden, AJD, Walter B. William, Jr., Mayor.
The Baldwin World War I Memorial is the first monument in the Baldwin Veterans’ Memorial Plaza, and was dedicated on September 2, 1921 in honor of the members of the greater Baldwin Community who served in World War I.