New Monument Honors Delaware’s WWI Veterans and Those Who Served on the Home Front
DOVER – The Delaware General Assembly, the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Delaware Heritage Commission unveiled a new monument in honor of those Delawareans who served their state and the nation in World War I.
The monument is installed on the grounds of Legislative Hall and was dedicated during a special ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 4.
“The men of Delaware who went to France in 1918 were devoted to the cause of freedom and their duty to make the world safe for democracy. It’s our duty to remember their deeds and the ideals they fought for,” said Gov. John Carney. “This monument also stands in honor of the Delawareans who supported the Great War from the home front. This includes some of Delaware’s most famous illustrators, whose artwork captured the spirt of America’s role in the war, and the nation’s duty to come to our allies’ aid.”
The granite memorial features reproductions of two famous works of wartime art by Delaware illustrators. One side depicts a 1919 piece by Frank Schoonover, dedicated to the Delaware “Doughboys” who fought with the Allies in France. The obverse depicts a 1918 war bond poster by Ethel Pennewill Brown Leach, in honor of the sacrifices of those who supported the war on the home front.
Though no living Delaware vetera
ns of World War I remain, many of their descendants have kept alive the memory of their service, including Sen. David McBride, president pro tempore of the Delaware Senate.
“As a veteran and a public official, I believe one of our highest duties is to honor all of our armed forces: those who serve, those who have served, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Sen. McBride. “As the nephew of a pilot killed in action over France in 1918, this memorial—and the tribute it pays to the millions of soldiers, sailors, and marines who served in World War I—is particularly moving. I hope that it reminds every passerby of our armed forces’ courage and sacrifice, and that it stands the test of time as their service has for our country.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the American intervention in World War I. Throughout the United States’ engagement in the war, some 9,000 Delawareans served overseas in the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Of that number, 43 Delawareans were killed in action and 188 were wounded. Many more succumbed to the great influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, bringing the total number of Delaware service personnel lost during the war to 270.
“I am very proud that our state is r
ecognizing these brave men,” said Sen. Colin Bonini. “The soldiers of the First World War heralded the beginning of the American century and we are grateful for their sacrifices.”
The installation of the monument was made possible by the Delaware General Assembly, with support from the Commission of Veterans’ Affairs, a division of the Department of State.
“In the Department of State, I’m proud to say that we help to support Delaware’s veterans every day through both the Commission of Veterans’ Affairs and the Delaware Veterans’ Home,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “Just as we honor veterans who have gone before us, we must do honor to those men and women still in our midst who gave their service to this country.”