Pros:Gives honor those who fought in the first international-war the USA was involved in.
Cons:Time, energy and dollars are needed to restore this memorial.
Sign the petition and donate.
The Bottom Line: This old structure needs to be reclaimed as an honorable memorial to those local names inscribed on its wall and as a National Memorial to ALL who died and served.
On a recent trip to Washington DC I stopped at the relatively new World War II Memorial that now has a prominent place in the Washington Mall. It is a fitting tribute to those who fought for us in that war. That visit reminded me of another visit I made looking for the World War I memorial that I searched for a few years earlier. I was disappointed.
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At the time I was looking for information about the WWI Memorial there wasn't much to be found. I went to the National Parks Service web site and still, there was little information. I didn't understand why.
I have since learned that the WWI Memorial on the mall in DC is a local memorial dedicated to those who lived in Washington DC and died in that war. It is NOT a national memorial and though on the mall among the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veteran's Memorial, and the WWII Memorial it is almost lost in the overgrown area that was selected for it years ago.
My Visit To the WWI Memorial
With little solid information as to the exact location of the WW memorial I set forth and among an overgrown stand of trees I spied the domed memorial with the words World War on top. It was in poor shape with cracks, stains and terribly weathered stone portraying an overall abandoned look.
The structure that was dedicated in 1931 is a domed structure just under 50' in height resting on 12 columns with a base some four foot high. I read on a couple of sites that it was intended to be used as a bandstand large enough to accommodate the 80-member U.S. Marine Corps Band.
Though I could see the potential of strength and beauty within the design of the structure, it really needs the attention of our people and our government.
pops Immediate Thoughts
The WWI memorial seemed to be an afterthought in its placement in Potomac Park. Though on the mall, and has potential to be given the greater attention it is due, it seems much more hidden than most other memorials. It, of course, does not have the ideal location as that of the WWII Memorial. Also, its size and scope is far inferior to that of scale given the memorial dedicated to "The Greatest Generation" and for that matter those built to honor the vets of Korea and Vietnam.
Please don't get me wrong about the actual structure and idea. I understand it was constructed at a time when the designed memorial may have seemed a fine tribute to those 499 persons from DC who died in that war and as a remembrance of others who served but it seems to me that history now demands to give those heroes and all those who died and fought in that 1st World War the greater honor and recognition they now deserve.
That being said, it was not its size or its placement that left me disappointed. It was the care of the memorial. One could see that the efforts of man hours and dollars were NOT being applied to its upkeep. The stone seemed worn and tired and the inside flooring in disrepair.
Though I have never personally served, I'm a firm believer that we should never forget the past and always honor those who have given their all for our benefit. I give honor to all who served and thanks to their families.
In the recent month I learned of efforts to reclaim the World War memorial from fading into the past. I have also read that there is still one remaining American veteran of that first World War who is still alive and now serves as the Honorary Chairman of the newly formed (2008) World War I Memorial Foundation. That man is Frank Buckles who is 108 years old.
The web site of the foundation gives some very interesting history of the memorial and states the foundations goals
first goal is to raise funds for the restoration of the existing DC War Memorial...
second goal is to secure Congressional authorization and raise funds for the re-dedication of the DC War Memorial site.
We emphasize that we do not propose to “federalize” or overwhelm the District’s memorial...
.... We do not favor any proposal that would detract from or alter the character of the DC memorial site, and any additions should complement and preserve the existing memorial and its landscape.
Please take time to read the that information in much more detail at
In just eight years, in 2017, the United States will commemorate the centennial of its entry into World War I. Think about that fact and its historic significance and be sure to support the efforts of the good people working toward these goals by signing the petition that can be found at...
VERY IMPORTANT! Though I rate this memorial as "Below Average" (because of the poor shape it is in), I strongly recommend visiting the site giving honor to those who sacrificed for us and also offer hope and support for the future of the site as the National World War I Memorial.
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