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The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

District of Columbia World War Memorial

 
 
District of Columbia World War Memorial, Wayside Marker, Panel 1 image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
1. District of Columbia World War Memorial, Wayside Marker, Panel 1
Inscription. [Panel 1: northeast corner wayside.]
“This monument stands for men who fought not alone for their country, but to establish the principles of justice and peace. We pay tribute here to their valor. We honor them for their sacrifice.”
President Herbert C. Hoover, November 11, 1931.

Why does the Great War endure in human memory?

In 1914 a small European conflict quickly expanded into a global conflagration. The war introduced lethal new technologies, swept away four empires, redrew international boundaries, inaugurated mass genocide, and killed nine million people. President Woodrow Wilson strove to maintain American neutrality, but by 1917, this most terrible of wars drew in the United States. The “Great War” left haunting memories of places such as the Argonne, Belleau Wood, Cantigny where nearly 120,000 Americans fell by November 11, 1918.

How did the District of Columbia contribute?

The City of Washington offered her sons and daughters upon United States entry into the Great War. Twenty-six thousand District of Columbia men and women answered President Woodrow Wilson’s call to defend democracy. They served their nation in a variety of roles such as soldiers in the segregated 172nd Infantry Regiment, as nurses for the American Red Cross, as pilots
District of Columbia World War Memorial, Wayside Marker, Panel 2 image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 2008
2. District of Columbia World War Memorial, Wayside Marker, Panel 2
in the 11th Aero Squadron, and as sailors aboard the SS Aztec.

[A caption for the background photo reads]:
Stationed at Camp Meigs, Washington, DC, these soldiers of the 4th Company, Quartermaster Corps, U.S.A. proudly assist their “Uncle Sam” with wartime recruitment. [An inset picture included with this caption is James Montgomery Flag’s famous “Uncle Sam” recruiting poster, “I Want You for U.S. Army.”]

Who made the ultimate sacrifice upon freedom’s altar?
[Two Photos]:
Private John A. Kimball (left) of the 82nd Infantry Division and Major James E. Walker (right) of the First Separate Battalion, District of Columbia exemplify Washingtonians whose names appear together, inscribed around the base of the memorial.

How do we remember the heroes of the Great War?

As bronze and stone memorials emerged locally throughout the United States following the war, national tributes such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Argonne Cross appeared in Arlington National Cemetery. Washingtonians humbly honored their own with hundreds of memorial trees that featured bronze name badges, but soon sought a more lasting, fitting reminder.

(Please continue around the memorial to the next wayside.)

[Panel 2: southwest corner wayside.]
District of Columbia War Memorial Panel 3, South Lawn image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 29, 2014
3. District of Columbia War Memorial Panel 3, South Lawn
“We gather here today to dedicate a new shrine to those residents of the District of Columbia who served in the World War. This temple will recall for all time their services and sacrifices.”
President Herbert C. Hoover:
November 11, 1931.


Who built this memorial?

Following congressional authorization in 1924, Washington Evening Star President, Frank B. Noyes led the District of Columbia’s World War Memorial Commission to collect donations from District residents, school children, veterans groups, labor unions and government officials. Designed by local architects Frederick H. Brooke, Nathan C. Wyeth, and Horace W. Peaslee and constructed by Washington’s John Baird Company, this simple, dignified Doric temple testifies to the city’s sacrifice.

Why does Armistice Day 1931 bear distinction?

Here on the National Mall, thousands gathered despite threats to worldwide peace and economic security to dedicate the District of Columbia World War Memorial. Under the baton of the incomparable Washingtonian, John Philip Sousa, the United States Marine Band performed rousing renditions of “Stars and Stripes Forever” and the new official national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” As sunlight pierced the clouds above, local veterans joined the General of the Armies,
"A Memorial to the Men and Women of the District of Columbia Who Served in the World War" image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
4. "A Memorial to the Men and Women of the District of Columbia Who Served in the World War"
John J. Pershing as President Hoover dedicated this memorial that forever proclaims, “the story of heroic deeds done.”

Who uses this memorial?

Following its dedication the memorial remained popular with District residents who flocked to frequent military band concerts. From 1936 to the present, local veterans organizations under the auspices of the District of Columbia World War Memorial and May Day Corporation annually meet to honor the Great War service of 26,000 Washingtonians. Just as architect Frederick Brooke hoped, these remembrances fill the air with the stirring words and music that resurrect faded memories.

Who made the ultimate sacrifice on freedom’s altar?
[Two Photos]
Lieutenant, j.g. Stanton F. Kalk (left) of the USS Jacob Jones and Major Allen M. Sumner (right) of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, USMC, join the nearly 500 Washingtonians whose names - regardless of race, ethnicity and gender - remain inscribed around the base of the memorial. To honor each, the U.S. Navy named the Kalk and Sumner Class Destroyers.

This panel's background photo and caption are identical to that included on Panel 1.

EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location.
District of Columbia World War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
5. District of Columbia World War Memorial
This memorial was erected through the voluntary subscriptions of the people of Washington • It was dedicated on Armistice Day, Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-One by Herbert Hoover, President of the United States • Within this corner-stone are recorded the names of the twenty-six thousand Washingtonians who, when the United States entered the World War, answered the call to arms and served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 38° 53.25′ N, 77° 2.617′ W. Marker was in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker was on Independence Avenue, SW west of 17th Street, NW, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. The Memorial is on the National Mall in West Potomac Park, off Independence Avenue, SW. It is in a grove of trees, southwest of the National World War II Memorial. Marker was in this post office area: Washington DC 20024, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. District of Columbia War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Japanese Cherry Trees (about 600 feet away); A Symbol of International Friendship (about 700 feet away); Japanese Stone Lantern - Lighting the Way (about 700 feet away); Korean War Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Paul Jones Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); World War II Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
 
More about this marker. Of the three panels, only #3 is still at the location. That marker (titled District of Columbia War Memorial) is a separate entry (see nearby markers).
 
Also see . . .
District of Columbia World War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
6. District of Columbia World War Memorial
The names of the men and women from the District of Columbia who gave their lives in the World War are here inscribed as a perpetual record of their patriotic service to their country. • Those who fell and those who survived have given to this and to future generations an example of high idealism, courageous sacrifice and gallant achievement.

1. Wikipedia entry for the District of Columbia War Memorial. (Submitted on July 10, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. The Forgotten War Memorial. Article by Rebecca A. Miller and Christopher Armstrong published in the Washington Post on Sunday, July 6, 2008. (Submitted on July 11, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. The Forgotten War Memorial
"The D.C. War Memorial sits derelict in a grove of trees just south of West Potomac Park. Once the site of Marine Corps concerts commemorating our nation's fallen, the neglected Doric temple now seems little more than a relic of a long-forgotten war. With the National World War II Memorial just to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west, the memorial honoring those who died in the Great War will go largely unnoticed by the crowds visiting the Mall this Fourth of July weekend. This is a shame, and it doesn't have to be so...

"The D.C. Preservation League listed the memorial on its annual list of most endangered places in 2003 and 2006, and it continues to advocate for preservation and restoration of this special site. While the National Park Service has conducted a historic resources survey to ascertain how much restoration is needed, funding is limited and
District of Columbia World War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
7. District of Columbia World War Memorial
"The Great War for Civilization"
the memorial is not a priority...

"In May, Frank Buckles, the sole surviving American World War I veteran, visited the memorial and noted its derelict state. Speaking for a generation that answered the call to arms from across the entire nation, he also voiced a larger vision -- for it to be rededicated as a national World War I Memorial, equal in honor to the other war memorials nearby..."

Extracted from "The Forgotten War Memorial" by Rebecca A. Miller and Christopher Armstrong. Link provided above.
    — Submitted July 10, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.

 
Categories. HeroesMilitaryPatriots & PatriotismWar, World I
 
District of Columbia World War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
8. District of Columbia World War Memorial
District of Columbia World War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, June 2008
9. District of Columbia World War Memorial
Some of the 449 names that adorn the Memorial's walls, commemorating the District residents who lost their lives in service during World War I.
Refurbished District of Columbia World War Memorial - viewed from Independence Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 8, 2012
10. Refurbished District of Columbia World War Memorial - viewed from Independence Avenue
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,075 times since then and 117 times this year. Last updated on August 27, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on August 4, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 10, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   10. submitted on December 8, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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