The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
District of Columbia World War Memorial
“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
[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?
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.]
November 11, 1931.
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,
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?
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. 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. ¼ mile 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 . . .
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.)
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
"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. • Heroes • Military • Patriots & Patriotism • War, World I •
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 3,125 times since then and 34 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.