Soldiers and Sailors Monument
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. The following year Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time.
Five years later, the people of Manitowoc rallied together to create a wonderful public monument, located on 18th street across from the entrance to Evergreen Cemetery.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, also known today as the Eternal Flame, was dedicated on November 11, 1923. Credit for the monument is given to Charles Frazier, the chairman of the Memorial Committee. Frazier took his idea to the local Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, and the Elks Club. Thomas McKeough, of the Kiwanis Club was elected vice president of the committee, John Schuette joined as secretary and Ed Nelson was chosen as the treasurer.
The design for the monument was created by Nic Kettenhofen, a manufacturer of marble and granite monuments on Jay Street in Manitowoc. The monument, made of New Hampshire granite, cost $13,500. A steel flag pole was installed north of the monument at a cost of $1,500.
An article in the Manitowoc Herald News recapped the event by saying “The parade preceding the dedication ceremonies moved from the court house square headed by the Marine band and speakers in carriages, Co. E, Spanish War Veterans, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy Scouts, City Officials, delegations of civic clubs, the Burns Legion Post of Two Rivers accompanied by the Two Rivers High school band in uniform the latter delegation attracting much attention.”
Judge James S. Anderson addressed those in attendance. Referring to the placement of the monument, he spoke “On one hand lies a great cemetery, a city of the dead, in which lie in eternal rest a great number of those to whom it is erected in remembrance. … [On the other side of the monument] stands a great educational institution devoted to the training of those whose work and duty shall be to instruct our children in the knowledge of our government and the duties of citizenship.”
The educational institution Anderson was referring to was the former Manitowoc County Normal School.
Attorney E. G. Nash also addressed the crowd and said " We have met today to formally dedicate this monument, and it is peculiarly appropriate that these ceremonies are held on the fifth anniversary of the termination of the most terrible and disastrous war in the history of the world.”
He went on to say, “This memorial is presented in the belief that it will forever stand as a sentinel to remind us that our county never in vain called our countrymen to defend our flag.”
According to the book “Manitowoc County Historical Markers and Memorials”, during World War I, Manitowoc County had more than 2,300 men in the service. By the end of the war, 32 men were killed in action, 55 died of other causes, and more than 100 were wounded.
We owe our freedoms to the sacrifice made by our nation's veterans. Thank you to all who served our country and to those who continue to defend our freedom today.