Each of the four panels was announced in turn as a pretty young coed unveiled it. Then the party proceeded outside to the steps for the unveiling of the statue. A bugle sounded, then a 75 mm field gun brought to campus for the day thundered its salute. As the University Marching Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the coeds pulled red-white-and-blue ribbons and the canvas fell away, revealing Saville’s statue “The Victorious Doughboy.”
After the unveiling came the speeches. The speakers all hit similar notes: the noble sacrifice and valiant deeds of America’s young soldiers, the world-changing effects of their victory, and the rightness of commemorating those heroic deeds for future generations. Ohio Governor Vic Donahey’s words are representative:
And now we have a new generation of veterans, the graduates of the last and greatest school of war since the dawn of history... It is proper to strew them with flowers while living, rather than to withhold such floral offering for their graves. The deeds they have done, the lives they have lived and the sacrifices they have made, are here recorded, that our people of the future may receive anew, the inspiration necessary to carry them through a similar dark period, if God in his wisdom shall inflict it upon them.
The War Memorial Rotunda was a part of the Ohio Historical and Archaeological Museum experience for the next four decades. Every year, legions of schoolchildren from the city and around the state marched under the gaze of the doughboy and peered at the bas reliefs in the solemn rotunda. In adjacent rooms they peered at battle flags, helmets, gas masks, and bayonets from The Great War. The Ohio boys who became the men who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam knew and were inspired by this memorial to a previous generation’s war.
THE DRAFT- For the first time, America's young men, ten million of them, torn betwixt hope and fear, stripped for the test. Fit or unfit, which would it be?
THE VOYAGE- The Navy, with untiring vigilance, convoyed through deadly mines and lurking submarines, our fleets of troopships in safety, carrying two million men to France.