A large crowd gathered for the dedication ceremony of a memorial erected to honor those Dedham soldiers who died in the service of their country in the World War. The crowd was “reminded the the monument was for the people of Dedham, for those who had passed on, and those who were to follow.” (Dedham Transcript May 22, 1931)
A committee had been named who gave the project two years of thought and discussion, finally choosing a design by Frederick Warren Allen. Working with architect C. Howard Walker on the final stone tower on which the memorial would be carved and the details of the figure, a final compromise was reached. The committee chairman concluded that “The monument is unique and individual in design, he said, and something that cannot be easily copied by other towns.”
Patriotism was strong and the American spirit craved expression of the ideals of courage, bravery, service and sacrifice for one’s country that memorials like this Dedham World War Memorial provided. “It is impressive and will serve to make us better Americans, better men, better women.” It will be a constant reminder that lives were lost “to the end that liberty may be enjoyed by all Americans.”
PAX reads the inscription, the idealistic goal of war. Victory and triumph are ours, indicates the raised arm and the palm branch. After the horrors of war, these hopeful symbols are uplifting. Allen believed that if a sculpture is perfect and beautiful in itself, it uplifts the viewer and gives a feeling of comfort. Just the composition itself can give a sensation of harmony and balance.
The original design was more ambitious. Budget constrictions required a smaller memorial. The stone tower drawn by Allen was larger and more complicated in its stepped panels. The figure was more detailed, more serious in demeanor and more complex in its draping. The details on the architectural elements were more complex. The inscription was changed from “Pax Victis” or “Peace Victorius” to simply Pax, Peace.
Consulting Architect, Charles Howard Walker