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Monuments & Memorials

"The centennial of World War One offers an opportunity for people in the United States
to learn about and commemorate the sacrifices of their predecessors."

from The World War One Centennial Commission Act, January 14, 2013

DCWorldWarMonumen 1World 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.

Memorial Hunters Club

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.

100 Cities - 100 Memorials

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  • Dedication Date: 1923
47421 Bedford
IN
USA
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Memorial Hunter: Joan Mamanakis
  • Dedication Date: 1924
4th & D Streets
99004 Cheney
WA
USA

Inscription: A.E.F. World War Veterans 1917-1919 (no local servicemen died in combat during WW1)

The four sides of the monument are inscribed with an acknowledgement and names of those who died in conflict from the Civil War through Afghanistan.

  • Charles Adrian Pillars
  • FL000018
  • Other
  • Dedication Date: December 25, 1924
1620 Riverside Avenue
32204 Jacksonville
FL
USA

Photos and description courtesy of waymarking.com and the Smithsonian Art Inventory

A sculpture in which six youthful figures appear to be emerging from a swirling globe-shaped mass. The figures are nude and are positioned on a diagonal encircling the globe. Atop the globe is a standing male nude with wings. His proper left arm is stretched out to the side. His proper right arm is stretched up above his head and he holds a branch in his proper right hand. He wears a wreath on his head and is sleek and youthful. The sculpture is in the center of a polygonal concrete basin with spiral ridges converging in the center. Two steps lead from the concrete and brick plaza to the basin.

 
 

Inscription: (On basin, on plaque:) In memoriam/Dedicated to the citizens of Florida/Who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War/1914-1918 (On another plaque:) Hereon reposes an/Indelible record of the/Twelve hundred and twenty/Names of those to whom/This memorial/Was reverently dedicated/On Christmas Day 1924 (On another plaque:) Completed and conveyed/To the city of Jacksonville, Florida/AD 1924 (On another plaque:) Erected in gratitude/By the citizens of Duval County, Florida

(According to waymarking.com, the plaque regarding dedication on Christmas Day has been replaced with one that reads: Spiritualized Life/Symbolized by the winged figure of youth/Rises triumphant from the swirl of war's chaos which engulfs humanity/and faces the future courageously)

   
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Christopher Nay
60 Knox Lane
26003 Wheeling
WV
USA

The Aviator is a monument that was commissioned by Sallie Maxwell Bennett, the mother of a young man killed during World War I on August 24th, 1918. Her son, Lt. Louis Bennett Jr., was serving in the Royal Air Force's 40th Squadron in France in the fall of 1918 when he was killed. Just before his death, he had destroyed three enemy planes and nine spy balloons from August 15th to August 24th. Before his decision to join a few hundred American pilots in England's Royal Air Force, Bennett was the captain of the West Virginia Flying Corp in Wheeling.

The statue was sculpted by Augustus Lukeman (1871-1935) and dedicated on November 11, 1925 to honor Americans. who died in World War I.  The monument was moved and rededicated on November 11, 1975. 

  • Dedication Date: 2007
47012 Brookville
IN
USA
Castile United Church of Christ, Main and Washington Sts.
14427 Castile
NY
USA

This copper figure of a WWI infantryman carrying a rifle and a grenade appears to be advancing through No Man's land. It was sculpted by E.M. Viquesney and dedicated in 1926. The statue is re­moved from its granite base at the end of each October to be cleaned and repainted, and is returned to the site at the church at the end of the following May.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: The Wanderer
Forest Lawn Cemetery
14208 Buffalo
NY
USA

This is a tower memorial honoring the American dead of World War I.  Erected in 1929 by the American Legion, the inscription reads:

To preserve the memories
and incidents
of our association
in the Great War

46947 Logansport
IN
USA
Located in Mount Hope Cemetery.
Ohio Historical Center, 1982 Velma Ave.
43211 Columbus
OH
USA

This nine foot tall sculpture was created by Bruce Wilder Saville (1893 - 1938), depicting a WWI soldier returning home from vic­tory. He holds his rifle and a German soldier's helmet. It was dedi­cated on April 6, 1926, and was part of the War Memorial Wing of the old State Museum on the Ohio State University campus. It was moved in August of 1970 to the top of the dome of the Ohio His­torical Center, and in 1991 was moved to the center's entrance.

Former Swain County Courthouse, Main and Everett Sts.
28713 Bryson City
NC
USA

This is a tall limestone WWII soldier, wearing a helmet, pants tucked into boots, and a uniform shirt and belt. Over his right shoul­der is slung a rifle. It is dedicated to the war dead from Swain County in WWI, WWII, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Their names are incised on the marble base.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Memorial Hunter: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70
  • Dedication Date: July 4, 2007
15 Depot Park
59901 Kalispell
MT
USA

This memorial monument is dedicated to the fallen servicemembers of Flathead County from the Spanish-American War to the present day. It is located near the old Kalispell railroad depot, in what is now called Depot Park.

Montgomery County Courthouse Square 108 E. Main St.
27371 Troy
NC
USA

A five foot tall white marble statue of a WWI soldier is dressed in a waist-length jacket, helmet, boots and britches. His right arm is raised in the air and he holds a rifle in his left. It was dedicated in about 1926 to honor the Montgomery County men who served in the Spanish-American War and WWI.

Green County Courthouse, 320 Main St.
12414 Catskill
NY
USA

A bronze WWI soldier is running over rocks and barbed wire, with his rifle held in the air in his right hand. He wears a helmet and has a knapsack on his back. Beneath is a square granite base with a plaque dedicated to the men who served in the Tenth New York In­fantry during WWI.

  • Dedication Date: Nov. 11, 1928
47720 Evansville
IN
USA
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Aidan Coleman
47025 Lawrenceburg
IN
USA

This memorial was my Eagle Scout project dedicated to all Americans who served in the First World War. It has the names of the local veterans who served in WW1 and are buried in the cemetery. It was unveiled and dedicated at 11am on November 11th, 2018. Exactly 100 years after the armistice that ended the Great War. The 48 star flag is atop the inscription and it only has the years 1917-1918 inscribed upon it because it is an American memorial.

Oakwood Cemetery, off of Hatch Blvd
35660 Sheffield
AL
USA

101 Memorial

100 Cities / 100 Memorials

100c 100m wwi centennial plaque This project by the citizens of Muscle Shoals Area of Alabama is to recognize and honor the civilian war efforts of those who worked and died during 1918 in the building of Nitrate Plants and Wilson Dam of the Tennessee River. Sponsorship of the project is being provided by a local Steering Committee of leading citizens together with support from the American Legion and DAR/SAR organizations.

The 101 victims (all died in Nitrate #2 hospital) were recorded by name and sketched as to location of burial by Mr. R.B. Brodie (recorded in data book of 1918 and transcribed in 1921). It is intended that this recognition monument stand for all time as a tribute to their devotion to duty and sacrifice during time of war in service to their nation.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Courtney Luciana
279 Derby Avenue
06516 West Haven
CT
USA

The memorial was constructed August 9, 1942 by the New Haven Chapter Yankee Division Veterans Association. The regiment is where the New Haven Grays were formed. Today the memorial continues to serve as an active National Guard Reserve Unit.

Central Park, 5th Ave. and 67th St.
10065 New York
NY
USA

This bronze sculpture nearly 10 X 15 X 5 feet in size, depicts seven soldiers charging the front lines during WWI. The three cen­tral ones attack with bayonets while the others are wounded and slump. They are arranged as in a pyramid, and beneath is a stepped granite base. It was sculpted by Karl Illava (1896-1954) and dedicated on 66th St. on September 29,1927, to honor the members of this in­fantry regiment who served in WWI. It was moved to its present site after WWII.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: The Wanderer
101 E. 5th Ave.
37917 Knoxville
TN
USA

In 1921 a monument was erected in front of Knoxville High School in honor of the men who served in the 117th Infantry Regiment during World War I. The 117th had been part of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry in the pre-war National Guard. Called into service, the unit became the 117th Infantry Regiment, serving during the Great War as part of the 30th Infantry Division. On May 22, 1922 a special dedication ceremony was held. General John Pershing was one of the guest speakers who addressed the crowd of approximately 7,000.

The memorial consists of a life-sized bronze World War I infantryman appearing to run across rocky ground, carrying a rifle in his left hand and a grenade in his upraised right hand.  Beneath is a granite base and behind is a tall granite shaft topped by an eagle with outstretched wings. The shaft is adorned with medallions and several plaques honoring the local participants in wars from the Mexican War through World War I.  Some list the names of the 453 members of the 117th Infantry who died in World War I.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70
100 E. Market st
78205 San Antonio
TX
USA

Description: Dedicated to: The Oldest Malitia Unit In Texas.Serving in all wars of the United States, from The Texas Revolution To World War II.  The 141st fought in the Meuse Argonne Campaign in WWI.  The Monument is located in the 36th Infantry Division Plaza and was erected in 1991 by the San Antonio Chapter of the 36th Division Association.at the intersection of E. Market Street and Losoya St./Alamo St. It is on the street just above San Antonio’s world famous River Walk.  The monument is also about two blocks from the famous Schilo’s Delicatessen, a San Antonio landmark since 1917.