[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 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 alter?
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.]
"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, 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 alter?
Lieutenant (JG) 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.
[The background photo and caption are identical to that included on Panel 1]
EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA.