World War Two Plaques and Courthouse Cross, Monroe
The Gold Star Mothers Memorials to Union County War Dead consist of two plaques on the front of the county courthouse and a since removed cross that had been placed on the courthouse dome. The smaller upper plaque is the dedicatory plaque for placing of the cross in 1950. The lower larger plaque was placed in 1952 listing the names of Union County war dead. Both bronze plaques are unadorned aside from the inscriptions.
Images: View of the main entrance to the courthouse with plaques | Historic Courthouse in 1969, with the cross on the courthouse dome
Top plaque: THE CROSS / ATOP THIS BUILDING / HAS BEEN PLACED BY / THE UNION COUNTY / GOLD STAR MOTHERS CLUB / IN MEMORY OF THEIR SONS WHO / MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE / IN WORLD WAR II
Lowe plaque: DECEMBER 7, 1941 SEPTEMBER 2, 1945 / THE NAMES OF THE HEROIC MEN OF / UNION COUNTY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES / IN THE ARMED FORCES OF OUR COUNTRY / DURING WORLD WAR II / [Two columns of 67 names each and 2 names bottom center]
Courthouse Cross and Plaque: 1950. War Dead Plaque: 1952
34.983060 , -80.550000 View in Geobrowse
"Union County Court House, Monroe, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Link
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., http://www.goldstarmoms.com/, (accessed December 1, 2016) Link
“Be Placed On Plaque,” Union County Public Library, http://history.union.lib.nc.us, (accessed August 15, 2016) Link
“Gold Star Mothers Today,” Union County Library, http://history.union.lib.nc.us, (accessed August 15, 2016) Link
“Old Courthouse,” Union County Public Library, http://history.union.lib.nc.us, Photo # 00026, (accessed August 15, 2016) Link
“Union County – Monroe (Courthouse),” Ride Around America, http://www.roadsandriders.com, (accessed August 10, 2016) Link
Union County Gold Star Mothers
The cross was removed in 1978 when officials discovered leaks at its base were damaging the clock tower. The original weather vane from the late 1800’s went back up in its place. The cross is currently stored in the Historic Courthouse. Efforts are under way for a museum in the courthouse which would then display the cross.
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. organization was founded in 1928 and eligible to mothers whose sons or daughters died in the line of duty in the armed forces during World Wars I. Their goal is to inspire patriotism and a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; assist veterans and their dependents with claims made to the Veterans Administration; perpetuate the memory of individuals who died in our wars; promote peace and good will for the U.S. and all other nations.
The Gold Star Mothers of Union County also sponsored the World War Two Gold Star Mothers Memorial that is located on the parking lot of the Carolinas HealthCare System Union hospital.
The cross "spawned outrage and embarrassment before it was removed in 1978". "National newspapers and magazines decried the courthouse's 'churchly air' and the blending of church and state". Many public officials felt the cross should have never been placed on the courthouse.
The memorial plaques are located on the front wall of the Old Union County Courthouse, at 400 North Main Street, Monroe, NC 28112. They are displayed to the right of the front door on the building's north side. Other memorials in front of the historic courthouse include a Confederate Soldiers Monument, a marker for Confederate Pensioners of Color, Korean War and World War One memorials. A Revolutionary War memorial is on the west side lawn, Fire Fighters memorial on the south side and Vietnam Memorial on the east side lawn.
The courthouse building is surrounded by mature shady trees, seasonal and evergreen plants, and a well-maintained lawn.
The courthouse lawn serves as a ceremonial center for community activities, such as parades. The United Daughters of the Confederacy used to hold Memorial Day celebrations at the site until some residents protested the ceremonies.