One of St. Paul’s three public monuments and memorials to World War I, the Court of Honor largely centers its attention on World War II, with a small plaque dedicated to World War I veterans of Minnesota. Located on the Mall adjacent to the State Capitol, the idea for erecting a monument to Minnesota’s World War I veterans dated back to 1921, but did not come to fruition until 1950. After World War I, a State Memorial Commission was created to come up with a location and design, only to abandon this project with the beginning of the Great Depression and World War II.
As one enters the Court of Honor, one of the first monuments which they encounter is the plaque dedicated to Minnesota’s World War I veterans. The monument is quite simple in its design, mounted on a granite slab with the inscription, “World War I, April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918. Dedicated to the 57,413 Minnesotans who so gallantly served in “The War to End All Wars”. This plaque is one of several others included along the Court of Honor, with similar monuments dedicated to the Spanish-American, Korean, and Vietnam Wars.
As one enters the Court of Honor and walks around it, one cannot help but notice the large number of Minnesotans listed and draw the conclusion that World War I was an experience of particular significance to the State of Minnesota. This especially becomes the case when they make note of the eighteen month span for which the United States was involved militarily in the Great War.
However, as one continues to walk around, one cannot help but also notice the fact that the Court of Honor is heavily centered around World War II, given the exhibit displayed along with a memorial. This especially becomes the case when one takes note of the large monuments on display to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Upon viewing of this, one cannot help but conclude that World War I has become a mere aftermath in twentieth century United States history compared to World War II.