Friday, April 7, 2023

Harlan Ogle's Spirit of the American Doughboy

Some years ago Harlan Ogle wrote a book entitled "The Spirit of the American Doughboy" - A history of the "Doughboy" memorial in Monticello, Kentucky. The book contains eleven chapters and is a beautiful tribute to the service men from Wayne County, those "Doughboy Heroes," who participated in the first World War. Much of the material he used was directly from the Wayne County Outlook, while other material was provided by the Wayne County Library, Wayne County Historical Society and family members. The book was dedicated to a very special group of men and women of Wayne County "we proudly call veterans," he said. In 2010, KET aired a segment on the Monticello Doughboy and Harlan was interviewed. He talked about the sculptor and the background of the memorial, from the idea of it to its dedication.

The sculptor of this magnificent memorial in the middle of the town square that stands as a silent, but highly visible, reminder that Wayne County "boys" have died for the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans, was Ernest Moore Viquesney (1876 - 1946) of Spencer, Indiana. He was responsible for scores of statues and monuments memorializing soldiers of the Civil War, and both world wars. "Without doubt," wrote Ogle, "his most popular sculpture is "The Spirit of the American Doughboy," described as "100% perfect regarding its represen­tation of the World War."

Even before the war ended, Viquesney is said to have first conceived the idea of an inspiring monument that would honor those who were serving and dying in the war. In 1920, he copyrighted what was to become the most famous and well-known war memorial statute in U.S. history. Those early ideas and the efforts to transfer those sketches from paper to reality became one of the fasci­nating stories ever to be associated with Monticello and Wayne County.

These statues are located in at least 38 states. The one Wayne countians have been celebrating these past several days arrived in Monticello on January 19, 1923 and was dedicated April 8th that year. It was unveiled by Captain John Tuttle, a prominent Wayne County Civil War veteran, whom I have previously written about. Its acquisition was sponsored by American Legion Post No. 134. The sculpture cost $1,500, including freight. The total cost, including the marble base and monument area, required over $2,000 in cash and the donation of many hours of work on the monument by American Legion members.

The "Doughboy," in all of its 32 ounce bronze glory, is part of the rich her­itage of the people of Wayne County. According to Bro. Ogle, the original intent of it being on the public square was to serve as a constant and visual reminder of the sacrifices made by brave men from the area. It has been faithful to that cause for one hundred years, a silent reminder of the price that must be paid for Americans to enjoy "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Viquesney indicated the memorial was the image of the spirit possessed by the soldier. A spirit of love of man, God, country devotion, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, and unquestionable courage.

"May those who are blessed to look upon the Doughboy ever be mindful that freedom is never free. There is a price to be paid for freedom and "The Spirit of the American Doughboy" standing in the middle of the town square is a silent memorial to those who paid that price." - Bro. Harlan Ogle

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