World War I Doughboy Statue to be Centerpiece for World War I Centennial Commemoration

Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS) invites the public to help kickoff its centennial commemoration of America’s participation in the First World War by joining us for a Flag Day rededication of Scranton’s WWI Doughboy statue. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, June 14, 2017, in the park’s museum complex. This fee-free evening will conclude with a 7:00 p.m. showing of a classic World War I feature film in the site’s theater.
 

The statue, originally dedicated in Scranton’s Duffy Park on Harrison Avenue in 1940 by Rabiega-Gorgol Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3451, was placed in storage due to construction of a new Harrison Avenue bridge. The statue and park honored Lieutenant Colonel Frank Duffy and other Scrantonians who died while serving during World War I. Lt Col Duffy worked for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Railroad in Scranton before the war and undoubtedly walked the DL&W railyard complex which now comprises Steamtown NHS. With such a powerful connection to the past, Steamtown NHS is honored to partner with VFW Post 3451 in displaying the Doughboy statue through November 11, 2018, which represents the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended hostilities in the “War to end all Wars.”

The statue, officially known as “The Spirit of the American Doughboy,” was created by Ernest M. “Dick” Viquesney, and mimics the pose of what is perhaps America’s most famous icon, the Statue of Liberty. Just as Lady Liberty welcomed “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the American Doughboy is seen charging forward to “make the world safe for democracy.” The Doughboy statue proved popular and became the WWI public memorial of choice from 1921 until the start of World War II, with more than 125 placed across the country.

Steamtown NHS is also delighted to partner with the Lackawanna County Library System (LCLS) in the showing of a classic feature film in the site’s theater. This is the first of many collaborative opportunities planned with the LCLS in commemorating America’s participation in the First World War. So please join us for this fee-free after-hours event honoring those who answered our nation’s call between 1917 and 1918.

Located in downtown Scranton, Pa., Steamtown NHS is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. From I-81 follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then follow the brown and white signs to the park entrance at Lackawanna Avenue and Cliff Street (GPS: N 41.41, W 75.67). General park information is available by phoning (570) 340-5204 during regular business hours, or by visiting the park website anytime.
 
(Information from Bill Nalevanko
Public Information Officer)

 


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