Kingman community breathes new life into World War I Monument
Restored and Respected
World War 1 Monument Restored
“Back in 1917, Americans from farms, ranches, mines and cities all over the country answered the call to serve their country. Their willingness to give up their tomorrows so all of us could enjoy ours today resulted in the freedom and liberty that we have.”
Bob Wallace, quoted above, and the Arizona Military Order of Devil Dog Charities decided back in April that the time had come to restore the World War I Monument at Mohave County Superior Court back to its former glory. As of Saturday, June 29, that goal has been accomplished.
The monument, which was designed by E.M. Viquesney, was in great condition from the time it went up in May 1928 until the 1990s. Then, the Colt machine gun “Potato Digger” was stolen from in between Doughboy and Sailor.
“I was shocked to see it this way and disappointed that it wasn’t maintained properly,” Wallace told The Daily Miner when the project began. “The memories of these gentlemen that did so much for us, not to respect them with a proper monument that is maintained and taken care of is very disappointing.”
Thanks to Mohave County’s help, more than $34,000 went into the restoration of the monument. The work entailed enhanced lighting, landscaping, surveillance, and the creation of a bronze replica of Potato Digger.
“It’s been a great sense of teamwork from the whole county, from everybody who’s helped in all sorts of ways,” Wallace said. “We’ve had contributions from all over the county and beyond.”
“The memories of these gentlemen that did so much for us, not to respect them with a proper monument that is maintained and taken care of is very disappointing.”
Arizona Military Order of Devil Dog Charities
More work is planned for the future, too. Wallace explained that Part 2 of the restoration will see correction of a fracture within the monument. The timetable for that work has yet to be decided.
In attendance at Saturday’s rededication ceremony was Mayor Jen Miles, who noted the monument’s importance to service members and the Kingman community.
“I think that this is very meaningful for all of our service members because the statue is being made whole again,” she said. “I think that’s important for our community.”
Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop called it a “proud day in Mohave County.”
“This memorial has been a part of Kingman my entire life, that I can recall,” she said. “I’m really excited. It’s good timing because the new courthouse is being built, so as we’re honoring our veterans, we can see the progress of the court.”
Councilman David Wayt, who spends a significant amount of time at the courthouse as a felony prosecutor, said Kingman as a community supports the troops.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community,” he said. “It’s brought a lot of people together, old and young. It’s just really nice to see.”
Of the more than 2 million Americans who left home to serve in World War 1 overseas, more than 116,000 never returned.
“In 1928, the people of Mohave County took up that torch to recognize and honor those who served,” Wallace told the significant crowd gathered for the rededication. “And now today the people of Mohave County have heard the voices from that monument and have taken up the torch once again to make sure that the duty of those who served in World War 1 is never forgotten.”