The Doughboy stood as a sentinel on the Morgan County Court House square for over eighty years. Since the 1920’s when he came to West Liberty, KY and began his watch over our community he had witnessed many changes and through it all he remained steadfast….until March 2, 2012.
He had seen horse and buggies and A-models on mud streets through the depression. He witnessed young men, like himself, go off to war from the bus station across the street, knowing they were full of patriotism and a sense of duty mixed with a lot of anxiety and wondering if they would see their families again as they looked out the windows at the back of the bus. He silently rejoiced as most returned, victorious in battle. He also mourned for those families that experienced the loss and sacrifice of their sons.
He saw the jubilation and carefree times after World War II and into the fifties as the cars going by changed from bulkier sedans to sleeker, longer styles, some having fins. He never blinked when the muscle cars of the sixties and early seventies sped by and he wondered if they ever noticed him. Recently he has seen helicopters fly in and out of the hospital on the hill across the Licking River.
He saw many sixteen year-olds learning to parallel park on Main Street. He probably chuckled to himself as he saw one particular frustrated teen feebly attempt to perform this arduous task three weeks in a row in pursuit of his driver’s license. That name shall remain off the pages of these scholarly ramblings.
I have taken many pictures of this World War I monument over the years. For some reason I have always been drawn to his face, having been struck by the lifelike features and youthful appearance. Whenever I would look at him, I thought of my grandfather who enlisted in the Navy near the end of World War I. He met my grandmother while in training at the Naval training center in Chicago. She was fifteen and he was eighteen. They eventually married and he brought her to West Liberty from Chicago. I admired her courage and her adventurous spirit.
I like to think the Doughboy “fell on the grenade” that fateful night trying to protect the community he had watched over all those years. As he absorbed the direct force of the tornado that toppled him from his post and severely wounded him, I hope he felt the love and respect of the community for those many from Morgan County who have served this great nation and for whom he stood in honor.
The Doughboy is being repaired and eventually will be back in the community he loves so dear. Like that officer that has earned a cushy desk job, he will be performing his duties inside one of the court buildings. I will be glad to see him back in town.
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