Memorial Day 2014

War Memorial

Daily Clarion-Ledger, July 9, 1940, p. 14

PWA Head Addresses Crowd At Dedication

Part of the Monday activity of the American Legion convention was the dedication of the new War Memorial building which stands on the Old Capitol grounds. A dedication address was made by H.A. Worthman, regional director of the PWA, Federal Works agency, who spoke as follows:


I am happy to be in Jackson this afternoon to join with you in the dedication of a shrine erected to perpetuate the memory of those who have laid down their lives for their country, and I am grateful for the opportunity to appear, for the first time, before a State Convention of the American Legion. This is an honor that I deeply appreciate.

Ours is a troubled world. You and I are pretty generally aware of the seriousness of the world conditions, but today’s event is a typically peaceful pursuit of a peace-loving people and gives no place to talk of war.

With half of the civilized nations of the world marching backward, it is pleasant to have part in an event that is so representative of our American way.

Thoughtful citizens must realize that when a nation ceases to build, it begins to cease to live. It is a curious fact, subject to verification in the history of civilized societies the world around, that architecture and all the other arts of peace are a responsibility that the whole community necessarily must bear. Not adventurously, then, but with deep and deliberate purpose does the United State even in time of trouble engage its resources of wealth and men in construction endeavors of the kind represented by your new Memorial. To build, in effect, is to breath[e]. It is an expression of our essential American philosophy of cooperation to the advantage of all people that such projects as this have been created.

President Roosevelt and the Congress and the authorities of the several states, all have agreed that it was advantageous not to stop, but rather to press on toward that ideal that all citizens share for a more comfortable, convenient and congenial country in which to live.

The Public Works Administration was designed by the Congress and President Roosevelt and charged specifically with the task of constructing useful and permanent public works, thereby aiding national industrial recovery and employment. Your new Memorial is one of over 34,000 projects constructed during the past seven years which have helped to rebuild America. It is one of 291 projects built at a cost of nearly seventy million dollars by the people of Mississippi in partnership with the Federal Government.

This Memorial is a splendid example of a useful and permanent public work. Aside from its esthetic value as a memorial, it has a very practical value, as it will house the various veterans organizations of the State of Mississippi enabling them to more efficiently carry on their regular duties and their intensive program of Americanism.

The share that this new building has played in national recovery is indicated in the fact that it provided for the workers of Jackson and Hinds County 150,000 man-hours of labor at prevailing wage rates for which approximately $100,000 was paid in wages. Of equal importance is the fact that material orders for nearly $160,000 were placed with industries in at least a dozen states, which in turn created employment for workers in other sections.

And so we, this afternoon, are met to dedicate this building, but I like the word consecrate because dedication means literally the formal turning over of a building to those who will use it. But we today consecrate this building not only to the memory of the dead, but for the use of the living that they may carry on their work founded on the ideals that are so essentially a part of our American form of patriotism so evident in Mississippi.

And I want to offer for PWA and myself congratulation to the American Legion of Mississippi and to all others who dreamed and planned and carried out to this successful conclusion this Memorial and to all those who had a part in the construction of the building. Again let me say I am grateful for the privilege of being here. May God bless you all!

Categories: Jackson, New Deal


1 reply

  1. This is an especially fine speech. Brief but really eloquent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: