Relocation of Indiana War Memorial Statue Causes Protest, Debate

The people of New Castle, Indiana, are embroiled in a debate over a statue of a World War I soldier after plans were revealed to move the public monument to a new location.

The statue, called The Spirit of the American Doughboy, was erected in 1929 in Memorial Park where it has resided for 89 years. The sculpture is an American soldier carrying a rifle in one hand while the other hand is raised in the air clutching a grenade. It’s the work of sculptor of E.M. Viquesney.

The Doughboy statue was mass produced and distributed in a number of locations around the U.S., including Indiana’s Henry County near New Castle.

Park authorities recently removed the statue so that it could be sent to Michigan for refurbishing. But when the decision was made to relocate the monument to a more visible location upon its return, many local residents became upset.

At a recent park board meeting, a host of concerned citizens showed up to voice their displeasure with the relocation decision. Included among them was 92-year-old Irma Bliss who is an American War Mother. She told the park board that the statue should, “go right back where it was.”

Bliss added that relocating The Doughboy was like, “taking someone out of his grave.”

But other New Castle residents favor moving the statue. They say more people will see it in its new location where the lighting is better. Also, it will be more secure because security cameras are positioned in a nearby museum.

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