Memorials and Sculptures
Artillery pieces and tanks are not the only attractions outside the First Division Museum. The four sites below honor the service and sacrifice of American soldiers and civilians.
The museum’s south courtyard is a solemn tribute to the soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division who have died in battle since 1917. The inspiring sculpture, by artist Donald Harcourt De Lue, is titled “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” It is a half-size casting of the original located at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, where 9,387 U.S. soldiers are buried, including many 1st Infantry Division casualties of World War II.
The five etched-glass memorials were installed in 2019 and call out the human tragedy behind the major conflicts in which the Big Red One participated: World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Gulf War and Global War on Terrorism. Together, the markers account for 13,723 lives lost in service to our country.
"Spirit of Commitment"
This monumental work, dedicated in 2007 and once situated near the Education Center, now resides in a quiet space east of the Tank Park. Sculptor Jeff Adams linked the four figures physically and allegorically to express relationships across time. The four people of different ages and from different eras convey sacrifice, strength, courage, love, resolve and hope. Two of the figures are military, a WWI doughboy and a soldier from the “new millennium” helping him up. In their commitment we find the potential for good, for freedom and for a better world.
World Trade Center Beams
This memorial remembers all who were lost or injured in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and the first responders who came to their aid. The two structural steel beams — one of them notably twisted — are from the former World Trade Center buildings in New York. They were acquired by the First Division Museum in 2012 and exhibited indoors several times before placement in their permanent outdoor location. A “Heroes of 9/11” dedication ceremony was held on September 11, 2019 — exactly 18 years after the tragic and fateful events.
“The Lion of Cantigny”
One of Cantigny’s iconic landmarks requires a short walk from the First Division Museum. Located outside the Visitors Center, “The Lion of Cantigny” depicts a WWI “doughboy” and commemorates the First Division soldiers who served at the Battle of Cantigny in 1918. The 28th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Black Lions,” is remembered on the memorial’s granite base. Created by American sculptor Stephen C. Spears and dedicated on Veterans Day 2008, “The Lion of Cantigny” is one of three castings worldwide, all commissioned by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The others stand guard on Fort Riley, Kansas, headquarters of the 1st Infantry Division, and in the village of Cantigny, France.