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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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  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Richard Bareford
3260 SW 8th St
33135 Miami
FL
USA

The American Legion Harvey W. Seeds Post No. 29 erected this memorial to the World War veterans who died in the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. It is located in Section 2A of Woodlawn Park North Cemetery. The memorial sits atop a mass grave of five parallel trenches, originally containing 90 identified bodies (81 veterans, 9 civilians) and 19 unidentified bodies -- 109 altogether. Four veterans were later exhumed. 70 of the remaining veteran graves are marked, most since 2015. The burial with full military honors took place on September 8, 1935.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70
111 South 18th Street
98901 Yakima
WA
USA

The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift-laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii. Parades and ceremonies of welcome were conducted in the state capitols and major cities of almost all the states.

The 40/8 designation refers to the fact that during World War 1, each box car could handle either 40 soldiers or 8 horses as troops, horses and supplies were shipped to the front lines.

The symbol of the Merci Train to the right, shown next to the French flag, is a frontal view of a steam engine with flowers on the pilot which are symbolic of Flanders Field, where many American "Doughboys" from WW1 are buried. The drawing was adopted as the official symbol of the French Merci Train Committee, and a plaque of the drawing was placed on each of the Merci box cars. The committee also had gift tags made bearing the symbol, and one accompanied each of the more than 52,000 gifts that came in the box cars.

 

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70 and D&M Bolstad
128 Main St./U.S. Hwy. 3
03584 Lancaster
NH
USA

Sculpture Foundry:
Gotham Silversmiths

IN HONOR OF THE
MEN AND WOMEN
OF LANCASTER
NEW HAMPSHIRE
WHO SERVED IN
THE ARMED FORCES
OF THEIR COUNTRY
IN TIME OF WAR

This plaque is on the Main Street side of the monument which is toped by the Gorham
Silversmith’s foundry produced American Eagle with full spread wings. On the other
three sides are Honor Rolls listing those residents who served in the 20th Century wars
of our republic. This monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, Wednesday, May 30th,
1951.

HONOR ROLL
WORLD WAR I
1917 - 1918

This plaque lists the names of 143 Lancaster residents who served in the war and the
five Sons of Lancaster who “Made The Supreme Sacrifice” in defense of our liberty.
Those five lost son’s names are followed by a star.

This Monument sits front and center in Lancaster’s Centennial Park, formerly know as
Central Park, this gray granite War Memorial Monument surrounded by Weeks Memorial
Library and the Coos County Superior Court.

  • 15 tree markers, boulder, plaque
  • 1917 Honor Roll of the 307th Infantry 1919 / 77th Division A.E.F. Baccarat-Oise-Meuse-Argonne /
  • Grove or tree(s)
  • Knights of Pythias
  • Dedication Date: 1925
  • 1925
Central Park
10019 New York
NY
USA

Front: (Names of 590 men are listed in 9 columns.)
Rear: To The Dead / of the / 307th Infantry A.E.F / 590 Officers and Men / 1917-1919 /

  • Single figure -- soldier
  • Dedication Date: 1977

32nd Red Arrow Division 

After American entry into World War I in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson ordered all of Michigan's National Guard to Camp Grayling. Eight thousand of these troops then went to Texas where they joined Wisconsin soldiers to form the 32nd Division. Arriving in France in 1918 the division earned the name "Red Arrow" for its swift assaults through German lines. During World War II the 32nd Red Arrow Division fought courageously in the Pacific Theatre and received a commendation from General Douglas MacArthur.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: The Wanderer
Jefferson St and Washington St.
45123 Greenfield
OH
USA

The inscription on this memorial reads :

THEY GAVE THEIR ALL

OUR HONORED

WORLD WAR I 1917-18

[Followed by an Honor Roll listing the 49 men from Greenfield, Ohio who served in the 42nd "Rainbow" Division during World War I].

La Croix Rouge
02130 Fère-en-Tardenois
Hauts-de-France
France

Inaugurated in November 2012, this Memorial of the 42nd Division commemorates the 162 soldiers from Alabama and their Iowa comrades who died on the battle field of the Croix Rouge Farm as well as all the soldiers of the Rainbow Division who gave their life for France during the Great War. Created by British sculptor James Butler, MBE (RA), it was erected by the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial Foundation (Montgomery, Alabama) and was donated to the city of Fère-en-Tardenois, so that the bronze soldier who carries the body of his dead comrade remains forever the witness of the sacrifice made by young Americans on July 26, 1918, and so that it remains for future generations a symbol of French-American friendship and a call for peace among nations. 

For background on the memorial, see: https://croixrougefarm.org/the-sculpture/

  • Other
219 29th Division St
21201 Baltimore
MD
USA

Inside the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore is a Maryland Museum of Military History. Although the armory is usually closed to visitors, the building's facade is home to a number of WW1 memorials.

Veterans Park Drive
35630 Florence
AL
USA

This 75mm field gun is a modification of a French gun that was designed in 1917. The 75mm was the most effective light field gun in W.W.I. It was also used against infantry, tanks, and other armored targets in W.W.II. 

This gun is 17'-3" long, and weights 3,400lbs. Its range was 13,870 yards, and fired 6 rounds per minute. The 75mm shell weighed 19lbs., and could be fixed, high-explosive, chemical, smoke, or armor-piercing.

The 105mm has now replaced the 75mm gun as the light artillery weapon.

Bronx Blvd. and 219th St.
10467 Bronx
NY
USA

This 19 foot tall monument was designed by architect Charles W. Stoughton (1871-1945) and installed here in 1924, as a memorial to the veterans of WWI.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: The Wanderer
North Main St.
29601 Greenville
SC
USA

This World War I monument stands just outside the gates of Greenville's historic Springwood Cemetery. It reads: "In Memory of 81st. Wildcat Division which trained at Camp Sevier Apr. to July 1918, Maj. Gen. Chas. J. Bailey, Commanding. Erected Oct. 13, 1956."

Although officially organized as the 81st National Army Division, the battalion came to be known as the Wildcat Division and entered the war theater in France toward the end of the war in 1918. With draftees primarily from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, the group took on the name to reflect the fierce fighting and tenacious wild cats of the South and adopted a patch made from the silhouette of the cat as their insignia. They fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918 and were in combat against the Germans in Verdun when fighting ceased on November 11 with the armistice. The Wildcat Division suffered 1,104 casualties during their short time in the war.

Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Division War Museum, 5108 Ardennes St
28307 Fort Bragg
NC
USA

This obelisk monument is dedicated to the memory of the mem­bers of the 82nd in WWI, WWII, the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, and actions in the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: thewanderer
  • Avard Fairbanks, John Graham Sr.
  • Frank McDermott
  • Dedication Date: 1930
98433 Joint Base Lewis-McChord
WA
USA

On May 30, 1930, an impressive monument was dedicated at Fort Lewis honoring the Army's 91st Division. The monument, featuring six statues and a 40-foot tall shaft, recalls the division's wartime contribution and honors its war dead. Sculptor Avard Fairbanks (1897-1987) designed the statues and noted Seattle architect John Graham Sr. (1873-1955) designed the monument. Frank McDermott, president of the Bon Marche Department store, donated the funds to build it. Since its dedication, the monument has become a prominent Joint Base Lewis-McChord symbol, where it continues to honor national sacrifice.

Camp Sheridan site, 3 Johnson Ave.
36110 Montgomery
AL
USA

"The 9th Infantry Division was organized on 18 July 1918 at Camp Sheridan for service in World War I. When the War ended, 11 November 1918, deployment of the Division to France was canceled and it was demobilized of 15 February 1919." -Alabama Historical Association marker, 1993.

  • Single figure -- soldier
A monument dedicated to A Bartlett King 107th Engineers 32nd Division who died in France October 7th 1918. He was the former leader of Boy Scout Troop No.1 in Marquette MI. This monument was built by the Boy Scout Troop on Sugarloaf Mountain near Marquette MI. A short .5 mile hike up to the Sugarloaf Mountain look out also yields great views of the Lake Superior shore line and Marquette MO.

There are 2 trails one easier with steps and one more difficult. The trail head is located off County Road 550. About 3 miles north of Marquette.
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: thewanderer
22030 Fairfax
VA
USA

Located in front of the Fairfax Court House, this World War I memorial hosts the names of the soldiers from Fairfax County who died in the war.

16 3rd Ave E, Ada, MN 56510
56510 Ada
MN
USA

"I've attached the pic associated with the World War One Memorial at Ada, Minnesota. Since it's dedication (date unknown) other sides of the base have had plaques added listing the fatalities from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam."

-Mr. Johannes R. Allert, M.A., CTL

  • Bench
  • Dedication Date: July 28, 2002
Near 524 Berne St
46711 Berne
IN
USA
  • Paul Manship
  • Other
Aviator Park, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 20th Street
19103 Philadelphia
PA
USA

Photo and description courtesy of the Association for Public Art

This bronze "celestial sphere" is dedicated to the aviators who died during World War 1. It also illustrates the signs of the zodiac and is inscribed with the Latin names of the constellations and planets. The sculpture is located opposite the main entrance of the Franklin Institute.

In Memory Of 
Those Aitkin County 
Soldiers 
Who Lost Their 
Lives In The 
World War

Erected By 
Northland Chapter D.A.R. 
1936