A memorial to the US soldiers who took part in World War I in McKeesport, Pittsburgh has had its bronze plaque stolen. The marble memorial featured the plaque with the names of all of the soldiers who gave their lives during the Great War.
The rest of the memorial remains the same, including flags and veterans’ medallions. However, the plaque is now missing, leaving a large hole in the memorial.
The plaque honors soldiers from the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
It is believed the plaque was removed during the night in mid-December. Being large and heavy, the perpetrators would have had difficulty removing it, and it would have been hefty and time consuming work.
Dale Robinson from the Tenth Ward Memorial Committee says that marks around where the plaque was placed are large dents where they must have prised it off using heavy duty tools.
Police have been notified and junkyards and scrap sites around the area have been notified in case those who stole it try to sell it on. So far, there has been no sign of the plaque reported to the police.
The police have stated that they will not question anyone who hands in the plaque, they are just more concerned about getting the memorial back to its rightful place.
Dale says that his committee would rather give them the money they could earn from the sale of the plaque. Around the same time as the robbery, a flagpole was stolen from another location, so the police are reviewing video footage of that incident in hopes to connect the two.
America did not enter World War I until 1917, three years into the conflict. Prior to that, it had remained neutral but did supply limited military provisions to the UK and Allied forces. When the US declared war on Germany, it remained independent and did not join the Allies. To begin, America supported the Allied effort by increasing its provision of supplies, materials and funding, the CBS Pittsburgh reports.
A year later, US soldiers were deployed to the front lines in Europe under direction from General Pershing. American troop support helped the Allied effort to bring the conflict to an end in November 1918.
Records show that more than four million US troops and workers took part in the war effort, with more than 100,000 of those killed. At the time, the influenza epidemic was a large killer. It is estimated that around 40,000 Americans were killed by the disease.
President Woodrow Wilson made a slow start to its war contributions, but he had made every effort to make the US economically and militarily ready to take the conflict on.