WWI Veteran Memorial Finally Being Built

Published: 15 February 2024

By Steve Stefanides
via the Coastal Breeze News (FL) website


One of the great advantages I’ve had over the dozen years or so that I’ve written for the two publications I’ve had the privilege to scribble the various thoughts I’ve had come into my mind would deal with some of the great pieces of information you have brought to my attention.

This morning, a gentleman called me to make me aware of a new memorial that has been commissioned to pay tribute to our brave veterans who participated in World War I. This new tribute to American troops would be placed as a centerpiece in Pershing Square in Washington D.C., across from the White House later this year. The memorial itself will consist of 38 bronze sculptures created by sculptor Sabin Howard.

At the outset of when America entered the conflict on April 6, 1917, we had a standing army of 127,500. By the end of the conflict, we had four and a half million military personnel serving in the United States Army, and another 800,000 served in other branches of military service.

If you were surprised with these numbers, so was I. I was equally surprised by the unprepared nature of our nation prior to its entrance into the conflict. I was shocked to understand how poorly prepared to move troops and equipment to the European Theatre to assist England and France, who had been engaged since August of 1914, and how desperately in need of the American troops and support they were.

Much has been written over the years about the American Expeditionary Forces and their gallantry, as displayed throughout the war. It would serve as the foundation for the modern day, combat-tested army of the future for the United States. We would also vow to never again be left in that position.

In total, the United States sustained 320,000 casualties in World War I, including over 53,000 killed in action, over 63,000 non-combat related deaths, mainly attributed to the influenza pandemic of 1918, and 204,000 wounded.

My grandfather on my mother’s side of our family was Walter Hogle, and he had been a proud Irishman who had immigrated here from overseas. I had become aware of that only a few years ago when, on one of my trips back to my home state of New Hampshire, I visited his and my grandmother’s gravesite in Concord to place flowers. My grandmother was herself from St. Nicholas, Belgium, and I’m sad to say we don’t know much about either of them, and that is sad in itself.

I mention that because on the gravestone, it mentions he was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War I, but he passed when I was quite young in the 1950s, and I unfortunately never got the privilege to know him.

Read the entire article on the Coastal Breeze News web site.
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