Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
This sculpture, erected in 1927, is one of the best-known outdoor sculptures in the nation. Named Spirit of the American Doughboy, it depicts a World War I soldier attacking across the "no man's land" between the trenches. Created in 1920 by Ernest Moore Viquesney, 130 Doughboys stand in thirty-five states.
Going over the top into no-man's land
The Doughboy holds a grenade in his upraised right hand and a rifle in his left. His metal trench helmet is a reminder of danger from the air. The gas mask on his belt recalls the horrible mustard gas attacks that left many soldiers disabled. The barbed wire around his feet represents methods used to hinder attacks. He stands on a battle-torn, shell-pitted surface supporting only blasted tree stumps.
The United States entered World War I on April 2, 1917, nearly three years after it had begun. For Americans, the war lasted 18 months. During that time, 1,946 men from Phillips County served in the armed forces.
Soon after the war ended on November 11, 1918, the Phillips County Memorial Association, Helena's American Legion Post, and the Seven Generals Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began raising the funds to erect a monument honoring the county's World War I veterans. The effort,
The Dedication Ceremony
Finally, on July 10, 1927, as the waters of a devastating flood receded, the Doughboy was unveiled in a lavish ceremony. The Marianna military band provided the music and the Boy Scouts acted as Marshals. Senator Joe T. Robinson, Arkansas, delivered the address. The Helena World reported that over 2,500 people watched as seven young women representing the towns of Phillips County removed the elaborate drapery to reveal the statue.
Left: Doughboys in the trenches
Middle: Doughboys marching along a road in France
Right: A World War I tank
Erected 2012 by City of Helena.
Location. 34° 31.744′ N, 90° 35.176′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is at the intersection of Perry Street and Cherry Street, on the right when traveling east on Perry Street. Touch for map. Located at northeast corner of Court Square Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 620 Cherry Street, Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. World War I 1917-1918 (a few steps from this marker); Loyal to the Old Flag (a few steps from this marker); Phillips County Court House (a few steps from this marker); Phillips County, Arkansas (a few steps from this marker); West Helena, Arkansas (within shouting distance of this marker); Helena, Arkansas (within shouting distance of this marker); "We shall never be the same" (within shouting distance of this marker); Answering a Call for Help (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Helena.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Marker of actual Doughboy statue.
Also see . . . The Viquesney Doughboy Database on the Helena Doughboy. (Submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • War, World I •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 80 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.