Soldier Ghosts Stand Guard at Virginia’s World War I Memorials

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"Doughboy" statue - Petersburg
"Doughboy" statue - Petersburg

Various Locations

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Today World War I is a distant memory for many Virginians. But scattered throughout almost every county and independent city in Virginia is a memorial to this forgotten war. On September 17th, Virginians who served at home or abroad during the war will be memorialized by a vigil conducted by WWI reenactors across the state.

Between 11 am and 1 pm Saturday, September 17, the ghosts of The Great War will be invoked at the following sites:

  • “Liberty” statue in Harrisonburg (Anna Kiefer)
  • Life-sized “Doughboy” statue in Petersburg (Parrish Simmons)
  • Obelisk in front of the Front Royal Courthouse (Jay Gillispie)
  • WWI-era housing development at Hilton Village in Newport News (Chris Garcia)
  • Tribute to the Gold Star Mothers in Byrd Park, Richmond (Adrienne Robertson)
  • Virginia’s official World War I memorial, a carillon, also in Byrd Park (Greg Jones)

These corporeal spirits will have information about local men and women who served in World War I. In addition, the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society will have WWI-era medallions, given in honor of local servicemen who lost their lives between 1917-1919, on display in the Hollingsworth Mill Center at 1340 South Pleasant Valley Road.

Professors Eric Yellin (University of Richmond) and Lynn Rainville (Sweet Briar College) have spent the past year collecting information about almost 200 World War I memorials in Virginia. This work is supported by a grant from Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

For more information, please contact Lynn Rainville ([email protected]) or Eric Yellin ([email protected]).


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