The Victory Arch
To Greet Them As They Pass On Their Glorious Return
— World War I Centennial Commemoration —
Victory arches have a way of outliving many other works of man. Just as it would be difficult to imagine Paris without the Arc de Triomphe, it would also be hard to imagine Newport News without its Victory Arch.
Rep. Lewis McMurran Jr., from a 1961 Memorial Day address
Newport News citizens were proud of the vital role their community played in national defense during World War I and of the armed forces who had fought "the war to end all wars." Following the 1918 Armistice residents chose to honor them by erecting a triumphal arch. The idea was that troops disembarking at the nearby embarkation piers would pass under the span as they entered the city and be feted.
According, Shipyard draftsman Ralph A. Preas designed a 50' × 50' memorial based on the French Arc de Triomphe. Ground was broken January 27, 1919, and a temporary structure of wood and plaster was hastily erected with $6,000 in funds received through public subscription. Although there were no inbound troop ships the day of its dedication, April 13, 1919, the edifice was celebrated with a civilian parade featuring floats
The keynote speaker, Samuel R. Buxton, summed up the spirit of the occasion: "The arch is temporary in character, but what it represents is as an eternal as the everlasting hills. Its foundation is laid in the love of a grateful people and the superstructure which has been raised is the outward expression of gratitude of many thousand hearts." Boy Scouts then pulled the cords to unveil the inscription penned by attorney Robert C. Bickford "Greetings with love to those who return/A triumph with tears to those who sleep." A Daily Press editorial commented, "The Arch will stand as the guiding light to those who are yet coming here from war, to greet them as they pass on their glorious return."
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • War, World I.
Location. 36° 58.615′ N, 76° 25.958′ W. Marker is in South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia. Marker
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Victory Avenue (a few steps from this marker); Welcome Home (a few steps from this marker); Newport News Victory Arch (within shouting distance of this marker); Headquarters, Hampton Roads (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Victory Arch (within shouting distance of this marker); Warwick Hotel 1883-1961 (within shouting distance of this marker); A Great Confederate Naval Victory (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Newport News (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Newport News.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 30 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.