As a result, Americans to this day pay homage to the warriors who fought and died in what was known as “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, the moniker has not lived up to its hopeful description.
Reminders of WWI, which officially ended on November 11, 1918, are all around us. Stately monuments and serene cemeteries don’t let us forget the blood that was shed for the good of our nation and the world.
Middletown’s Woodside Cemetery on South Woodside Boulevard contains an expansive war memorial. Known as the “Middletown Ohio Veterans Memorial,” the site consists of a black granite wall measuring 54 feet long and 8 feet high located near the cemetery entrance. It bears the names “of those with a connection to this area who died while serving their country, from the Mexican War to Operation Enduring Freedom,” according to a brochure. Lifelike wartime scenes populate the stunning structure, representing all aspects of war, from fighting on horseback, in trenches, in air and at sea.
Not far away, at 116 South Main Street, two WWI monuments stand proudly on the front lawn of American Legion Post 218.
The structures were originally located farther down Main at the corner of 14th Avenue, but were moved many years later to the Legion site. According to Middletown Historian, the late George Crout, the monuments were moved so they could be “more easily viewed by the public, and better maintained.” *
The monuments have an interesting history.
“...The monuments themselves were erected to honor the men from the Middletown area who fought in World War I with the names inscribed in bronze…,” Crout wrote in his history column in the Middletown Journal. The names of soldiers who lost their lives appeared on a special tablet. The monuments were rededicated in a special ceremony at the American Legion post in November 1977. *
A “living” monument also honored the fallen of World War I, Crout wrote.
“A tree was planted for each of the men who answered the call to arms,” he continued. “The row of trees reached from 14th Avenue to the crest of the hill on what was then Dixie Highway and now [is] Ohio 4 for a distance of two miles.” *