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

    World War Two Memorial, Morganton

  • Type

    Public Space

  • Subjects

    World War II

  • City

    Morganton

  • County

    Burke

  • Description

    The centerpiece of the memorial complex is Victory Plaza with full size statues of a mourning woman and a grandfather holding a young female child. These figures represent the generation of sons, daughters, husbands and wives lost during the war. With outstretched hands the two adult figures form a V for victory. In front of these figures are two large pieces of black granite bearing the names of Burke County men and women who perished during the war. The memorial also has a life-size statue at the garden’s entrance titled “The Inductee” which represents the ideal youth, with hand raised to take the induction oath. On the stone wall running along the back side of the plaza are eight other bronze busts representing the branches of service and civilians important to the war effort; a textile worker, a nurse, a welder, a Coast Guard planner, a Navy Commander, an Army soldier, a wounded Marine and an African-American airman. Along the front of the plaza walkway are stone benches and columns with donor plaques attached. The wall, bench and column construction is best described as random sized squared stones laid in courses. The walkway directly in front of the centerpiece is of red brick. From this a ribbon of red memorial bricks winds its way along the plaza’s conglomerate concrete/pea gravel walkway. On the wall to the left of “The Inductee” statue is a flat sculptured piece, which reads “KILROY WAS HERE,” showing a bald-headed man with a prominent nose peeking over a wall being clutched with the fingers of each hand.

    The goal of artist Alex Hallmark was to honor both the military and civilian role in World War II and to portray the nation that went to war and the effects it had on its citizenry.

    Images: Victory plaza | Entry Column | Center sculptures | Left tablet | Right tablet | "Kilroy was here" | Bench and memorial bricks | Textile Worker | Airman | Inductee | Nurse | Commander (Naval officer) | Wounded Marine | Soldier | Planner (Coast Guard) | Welder | Rear view of the memorial | View from E. Meeting St. | View from S. Green St. | Far-off view

  • Inscription

    Centerpiece plaque: WWII / BURKE COUNTY DEAD

    Victory Plaza Plaque: VICTORY PLAZA / SPONSORED BY / ROTARY CLUB OF BURKE-SUNRISE / DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11, 2005

    The Inductee: Front proper right, BRAVE / front, proper left, FREE / proper right, STRONG, / proper left, JUST / rear, UNITED

    Inductee plaque: THE INDUCTEE / DONATED BY / LAW FIRM OF BYRD, BYRD, ERVIN, / WHISNANT & MCMAHON, P.A. / JOHN F. & TAMMY BLACK / CANNON PHARMACY / W. BRUCE & MARIANNE CANNON

    Bust plaques, left to right:

    THE WELDER / DONATED BY / 150 STRONG WOMEN

    THE NURSE / DONATED BY / GRACE HOSPITAL / SCHOOL OF NURSING / ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION

    THE MARINE / [Marine Corps logo] / MARINE CORPS LEAGUE / TABLE ROCK DETACHMENT 1197

    THE SOLDIER / DONATED BY / J.C. & SMARO / SOSSOMAN

    THE COMMANDER / DONATED BY / CoMMA/AARP / “BLUE BLAZERS”

    THE AIRMAN / HONORING OUR VETERANS / AFRICAN AMERICAN / COMMUNITY OF BURKE / COUNTY

    THE PLANNER / IN MEMORY OF / JOHN P. ROSTAN, JR. / THE ROSTAN FAMILY / FOUNDATION

    TEXTILE WORKER / DONATED BY / BANK OF / GRANITE

  • Custodian

    Burke County

  • Dedication Date

    November 11, 2005

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.745420 , -81.685950 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Wyatt, Robert. “Burke County Dedicates World War II Memorial,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), November 16, 2005

      “Farnham, Tracy. “Remembering Those Who Gave All,” The News-Herald (Morganton, NC), May 25, 2015, (accessed December 16, 2016) Link

      “WWII Memorial,” AlexHallmark Sculptor, www.alexhallmark.co, (accessed December 13, 2016) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze, black granite, stone, brick, concrete

  • Sponsors

    The Rotary Club of Burke County, Sunrise

  • Monument Cost

    More than $200,000

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Buddy Armour, president of Burke-Sunrise Rotary Club, said that “We didn’t just want to pay homage to the soldiers, but to everyone who contributed to the war effort, at home or abroad. It honors all who helped win the war.” The sculptor speaking about the African-American airman said that the bust “has a proud look on his face… and as I worked on him the phrase that kept going through my head was as if he was saying, ‘If I get home from this I won’t be riding in the back of the bus ever again.”

  • Subject Notes

    The sculptor, Alex Hallmark, son of a career military parent, won an open competition to design the memorial. He also sculpted the Senator Sam Ervin, Jr. statue at the old Burke County Courthouse and the Doc Watson memorial in downtown Boone.

    The origins of “Kilroy was here” is unknown but it was a form of graffiti seen throughout World War II in American occupied areas. An engraving of Kilroy also appears on the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

  • Location

    The memorial is located in front of and to the left of the Burke Country Courthouse at 201 South Green Street in Morganton, NC. To the right of the courthouse entrance is a Vietnam Memorial. The Law Enforcement Memorial is to the left of the entrance.

  • Landscape

    Young and mature trees line the plaza area along with several varieties of landscape plants. The courthouse lawn rises up behind the rear plaza wall.

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