Doughboy rededicated 75 years after dedication

Representatives of the American Legion Post 132 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1648 in New Ulm place a memorial wreath at the base of the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue Sunday.

NEW ULM — Nearly 75 years to the day after the dedication of the original statue, New Ulm veterans, city officials and Brown County Historical Society members rededicated the “Spirit of the American Doughboy Statue” that has stood in the New Ulm City Cemetery Soldier’s Rest section.

The Doughboy, with a rifle in one hand and a hand grenade raised in the other, was designed to represent the grim realities of war that the average American soldier endured in World War I, Mayor Robert Beussman said. The designer, Ernest Moore Viquesney, didn’t want his statue to glorify warfare.

The statue is one of many created from Viquesney’s original designs across the nation, but it is the only one in Minnesota.

The statue that stands today is a rebuilt version of the original. In 1995, the statue was found on the ground, the apparent victim of vandals who had pulled it down. The statue was shattered, but pieces of it were used to rebuild a new statue. Beussman said it cost $45,000 to replace it, but the funds were quickly raised from local banks, businesses and private donors.

In honor of the American soldiers represented by the statue, George Glotzbach read the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lt. Col. John McCrae, Canadian physician serving during World War I after the Second Battle of Ypres, where a friend and fellow soldier had died.

The Doughboy will be the center of attention again today when Memorial Day ceremonies are held at 10 a.m.


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