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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    James Dougald McRacken War Memorial, Red Springs

  • Type

    War Memorial

  • Subjects

    Personal Monuments

    World War I

    World War II

    Korean War

    Vietnam War

    Historic Military Figures

  • Creator

    Paul Van Zandt, Sculptor

  • City

    Red Springs

  • County

    Robeson

  • Description

    This monument pays tribute to James Dougald McRacken, known as the "Le sauveur de Mayenne [the savior of Mayenne]," for his heroism in World War II. McRacken was mortally wounded in a successful attempt to disarm explosives set by Germans to destroy one of the bridges at Mayenne, France. The monument is composed of a large, rectangular block of polished marble, approximately six feet long by four feet high, and a sculptural rendering of the soldier and bridge set in the top of the stone. The sculpture depicts the arms, shoulders, and head of Private McRacken, as if rising out of the marble, as his hands hold a miniaturized representation of the bridge. The front of the marble block contains three inscribed bronze plaques. The central plaque commemorates McRacken, and the left and right plaques contain commemorations of other soldiers from Red Springs fallen during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

  • Inscription

    Center plaque: IN MEMORY OF / Pvt. James Dougald McRacken / Company A 315 Engineer Battalion / 90th Infantry Division / He gave his life August 5, 1944 saving the Town of / Mayenne, France from Nazi forces during World War II / John 15:13 / "Le sauveur de Mayenne"

    Right plaque:[The names of soldiers fallen in the Korean War and the Vietnam War are inscribed.]

    Left plaque: [The names of soldiers fallen in World War I and World War II are inscribed.]

  • Custodian

    Town of Red Springs

  • Dedication Date

    August 5, 1994

  • Decade

    1990s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    34.814420 , -79.182750 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Dougald McRacken Killed In Action," The News-Journal (Raeford, NC), August 24, 1944, 1 Link

      "Hero of Mayenne Is Reburied In Red Springs," The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), October 19, 1948, 6.

      "Pvt. James Douglas McRacken." Markeroni.com, (accessed January 18, 2014) Link

      Borden, Sidney, Steven Chickos, and Daniel Jourdan. "The Korean War: North Carolina's Commemoration of the 'Forgotten War'," uploaded February 4, 2014, YouTube, (accessed February 4, 2014) Link

      Mayenne WW2. "James D. McRacken Co. A 315th Engineer Combat Batallion, 90th Infantry Division KIA August 5th 1944 in Mayenne," (accessed September 3, 2013) Link

      Van Zandt, Paul. "Paul Van Zandt 1991 to 2000", Exhibits, (accessed September 2, 2013) Link

      Vaughan, John. “Hometown Memorial To Honor N.C. Solider,” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), August 4, 1994.

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Marble base and bronze sculpture and plaques

  • Sponsors

    Citizens of Red Springs and Town of Red Springs

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The monument was dedicated during observance of the 50th anniversary of McRacken's heroic death at Mayenne, France.

  • Subject Notes

    The Monument is dedicated to the 90th Infantry Division hero James Dougald McRacken. However, it is a more inclusive war memorial as it also commemorates the service of other soldiers from Red Springs who have died in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    Private James Dougald McRacken died in attempt to save a bridge from being blown up by retreating Germans in Mayenne, France during the American advance in August of 1944. McRacken was wounded by a hand grenade explosion after leaving his truck or tank to disarm the explosives placed by the Germans. Despite being mortally wounded, he succeeded in cutting the wires and saving the bridge. Many townspeople witnessed his heroic effort and honored him shortly after with a monument placed near the bridge. He was subsequently buried close to the bridge. In 1948 his body was returned to his home town of Red Springs, and the citizens of Mayenne renamed the bridge in his honor.

    The sculptor, Paul Van Zandt, is a retired emeritus professor of sculpture at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

  • Location

    The monument is located in front of the Red Springs town hall on South Main Street. It sits on the right side of the walkway leading to the entrance with the front of the monument facing the walkway.

  • Landscape

    The monument is located on a paved area in the lawn in front of the town hall.

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