An Enduring Reminder of the Great War
— World War I Centennial Commemoration —
On September 28, 1919, two ceremonies were held by the Welcome Home Committee at the Victory Arch to honor local veterans. The first overflowed onto the adjacent Casino Park grounds as thousands packed every available foot of space around the monument. Several hundred former members of the armed forces were presented with commemorative bronze medals as a token of appreciation from the people of the city. Red Cross ladies pinned the decorations on the doughboys present, and the the American Legion delivered them to relatives of deceased servicemen. The black community conducted a separate exercise at the Red Circle Club on Marshall Avenue at 25th Street.
In the afternoon, there was a second solemn rite — the unveiling of an engraved bronze memorial tablet attached to the north pillar of the arch listing the names of the 32 Newport News servicemen who had died during the war. This plaque, created at the urging of Judge John B. Locke, was cast at the shipyard. First District Congressman Otis S. Bland recalled the deeds of the men who perished in the war and paid a glowing tribute to those who slept beneath the sod of foreign
And so the Great War passed into history, and the town gradually returned to normalcy. However, in an ordinance of November 1920, the city council chose to commemorate these activities by moving that the section of street activities by moving that the section of street between the arch and River Road be renamed Victory Avenue. This legislation heralded the city's formal commitment to accept the monument — noting it "welcomes the privilege of maintaining it."
In 1962, the temporary arch was replaced with one made of stone as a permanent symbol of Newport News' military legacy. Beginning in 2003, the waterfront where the hectic World War I embarkation scenes had played out was transformed into Victory Landing Park.
Newport News World War I Victory Medal, 1919.
The bronze medal bearing the relief of
Eagle Scouts await signal to unveil the memorial tablet on the arch's base at the dedication ceremony.
The 1919 bronze tablet paid tribute to 32 WW I Peninsula servicemen. It was replaced in 1962 when the arch was rebuilt with ones recording war dead of later conflicts.
Victory Avenue as portrayed on a vintage postcard was once a driveable street.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • Patriots & Patriotism • War, World I. A significant historical date for this entry is September 28, 1919.
Location. 36° 58.616′ N, 76° 25.952′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. It is in South Newport News. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West Avenue and 25th Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2501 West Ave, Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Victory Arch (a few steps from this marker); Welcome Home (a few steps from this marker); Newport News Victory Arch (a few steps from this marker); Headquarters, Hampton Roads (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named
Credits. This page was last revised on February 1, 2023. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.