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REMEMBERING WORLD WAR I--Soldier's Memorial
In 2017/18 we remember the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I, it is also important that we remember some of the local memorials erected after the war that honor the soldiers, sailors, marines, and nurses who served our country with distinction in the conflict. The following story, taken from the pages of The Weekly Reflex, is one of them.
"In the office of The Weekly Reflex there hangs a large sheet of paper of unusual historic value. It was printed during the Liberty Loan campaign and contains a small print of the photo of many of the Davis County boys who answered the call of 1917 to enter the world war. These picked men, the pride of the county and the flower of her manhood stepped forth 454 strong and offered their lives for home, country and freedom. In doing this, they forever inaugurated themselves in the hearts of their countrymen and earned a place of honor in the glorious history of a free people.
"Deep and heartfelt expressions of pride and gratitude were upon the lips of the people of Davis County as their brave sons heroically went forth. The spirit of patriotism ran high and a sincere desire to honor those who offered themselves on the alter of liberty was universal. An object lesson in love of country was beautifully portrayed among us. A move is on foot to preserve that object lesson in patriotism and loyalty to country that it may be a constant and enduring reminder to our growing youth and succeeding generations.
"The sheet of paper in The Reflex office will soon fade and disappear. It is proposed to cast into solid bronze a tablet expressing the soldier's sacrifice, the dread perils of war, the spirit of liberty and the bravery of the young men who went forth at their country's call. Alongside of the figures that represent us--the people at home--in the world's greatest struggle for human rights,
"Some three years ago, a committee headed by Leo J. Muir was appointed by the citizens of the county to take up and consummate the work. Miss Rhea Taylor, a Utah artist and well-known in Davis County, was employed to fashion a war scene setting forth the ideas expressed in the preceeding paragraph. About a year ago, a plaster of Paris cast of the proposed memorial was submitted to a committee consisting of Pres. Henry H. Blood, Pres. James H. Robinson, Senator John W. Thornley, W.P. Epperson, Thomas Jones, Pres. Edward Clark, John R. Rampton, J.G.M. Barnes, Leo J. Muir, Frank B. Muir, H.C. Burton, Mrs. Thomas Jones, George Dibble and John R. Gailey.
"The committee unanimously approved the tablet and authorized its completion. The splendid piece of statuary is now ready for delivery. It is pronounced by the most competent judges to be the best piece of work of its kind yet produced in the state.
"The tablet is made of enduring bronze, six feet by four feet in dimensions and weighs 815 pounds. The total cost, covering installation is $1,800. It is proposed to place this splendid piece of art work in the entrance hall of the Davis County High School, where it will serve as a wholesome factor in the education of the young people of Davis County" (The Weekly Reflex, editorial written by W.P. Epperson, April 12, 1923)
The memorial was dedicated at a public ceremony on November 11, 1923. It was a major feature of Davis High School for about 50 years--up until the mid-1970s. Unfortunately, in the 1970s the memorial disappeared when the high school building was being remodeled--its fate or whereabouts now are unknown.