US' WWI Memorials Crumbling

Communities debate fate of monuments as funds dry up

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 27, 2013 4:15 AM CDT | Updated May 27, 2013 7:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – All across the US, memorials to those who served in World War I are falling apart as funds dry up and interest in the conflict fades, the AP finds. One such memorial, the Waikiki Natatorium, was built in 1927 to honor the 10,000 Hawaiians who served in the conflict, but the crumbling salt water pool has been closed for decades; crabs scuttle between "Danger" signs there. Honolulu now plans to replace it with a beach instead of paying $70 million to restore it.

"We're a nation of short memory," laments a former state lawmaker leading a campaign to save the memorial, acknowledging that it will be tough to raise funds to renovate it. In Greensboro, North Carolina, the baseball stadium built as a memorial to World War I soldiers has also been allowed to fall into disrepair, and the city has rejected two referendums to renovate it. "The war was a long time ago," says a history professor leading preservation efforts. "I don't think it's meaningful for most people."

The World War Memorial Stadium is seen in Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro residents have been grappling with what to do
The World War Memorial Stadium is seen in Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro residents have been grappling with what to do   (AP Photo/News & Record, Scott Hoffmann)
The crumbling Waikiki Natatorium wasbuilt in 1927 as a memorial to the 10,000 soldiers from Hawaii who served in World War I.
The crumbling Waikiki Natatorium wasbuilt in 1927 as a memorial to the 10,000 soldiers from Hawaii who served in World War I.   (AP Photo/Anita Hofschneider)
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