Cecil County’s World War I Memorial: Our Doughboy
By Veronica Naujokas
via the Cecil Daily newspaper (MD) web site
ELKTON — Following the end of World War I, many towns and cities across the United States (as well as other nations), established a variety of memorials in remembrance of the war and those who had served and fallen defending their countries. Maryland and Cecil County were no different.
According to Cecil County historical archives, a meeting was held on Jan. 20, 1919 (just two months after the end of the war) to plan the creation of a monument to honor the men and women of Cecil County that had served and died in the war. A man and woman were chosen from each of the county’s nine districts to form an executive planning committee for the endeavor. Archives describe how ideas for a memorial were shared which included, a public library, a maternity annex to the hospital, a memorial tablet in the courthouse and the armory, a school fund for the soldiers, and of course a traditional monument of some kind. By March of that year the committee had still not come to a decision and it was decided that they should wait until all of the soldiers had returned home before they continued.
It was not until November 1920, nearly two years after the end of the war, that the committee had come to a consensus and made final decisions about a memorial. The memorial would be a monument and it was to be built in the southwest corner of the Elkton Courthouse.
Robert Thackery and his wife Elizabeth helped to organize a fundraiser and the goal for donations was set for $7,500, but by January 1921, just two months after their announcement, they had already raised $5,218 so the committee decided to raise their goal to $10,000. By March, donations had nearly reached their goal and were at $9,400. Cecil County residents had come together once again to contribute just as they had done so a few years earlier. They were still “doing their bit.”
The Elkton Marble and Granite Company was contracted and tasked with erecting the monument and the Rutland Marble Company from Rutland Vermont was contracted to produce the actual monument. Ground was broken in front of the courthouse on June 6, 1921 and by that October it had been completed. The following month on Armistice Day (now known as Veterans Day), Nov. 11, 1921, the monument was officially dedicated. Cecil County residents gathered for a parade and the unveiling of the monument, which was done by the mothers of the fallen soldiers.
The monument depicts a WWI soldier, in uniform, standing with his left knee bent and holding a rifle in front of him with the barrel of the gun upright and the base of the gun touching the ground. He stands tall on top of the central pedestal, with two flanking walls off to either side of him.
Read the entire article on the Cecil Daily web site.
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