SAYRE — One hundred years nearly to the day after the four-ton doughboy statue arrived to Howard Elmer Park, residents and families of the soldiers honored by the statue returned to pay their respects.
Sayre Mayor Henry Farley led a special ceremony on Saturday at the park to honor the local soldiers who had perished while fighting in World War I — the soldiers whom the doughboy statue commemorates.
“This monument was unveiled at a huge welcome home event held in Sayre on Sept. 13, 1919,” Farley said. “This celebration was one of the biggest events that Sayre ever had. There was a huge parade and a big banquet, and there was music and dancing in the streets all night long.”
The ceremony was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem and included members of several local American Legions and VFWs as well as the Valley Color Guard.
Farley added that while the creator of the doughboy sculpture is still unknown for now, local historians did discover that there are only three others like it in the country.
“The drive to erect the monument was authorized by the Sayre Borough Council,and was completed through the efforts of C. E. Loetzer of Sayre,” Farley said. “The monument is considered a work of art. Upon a granite base stands a typical American Doughboy with his rifle on his shoulder standing at ease as though having just halted after a long hike. The work done in bronze has been a lasting tribute to the 12 Sayre young men who lost their lives in the war.”
The ceremony also included a speech from Sayre American Legion Commander Mark Eldridge and a presentation of the Sayre Machine Gun Company by local teacher and Army veteran Tom Duncan.
Specifically, the statue honors the following soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War:
• Archie F. Hatch
• Orlando M. Loomis
• brothers Eugene and Leo A. Murphy
• Arther V. Drake
• Fred D. Skiff
• Clarence B. Utter
• Elmer D. Jackson
• William H. Decatur
• Wayne R. Horton
• Ransom H. Grumme
• Frank R. Bowers.
Numerous family members of Loomis and the Murphy brothers were also in attendance at the ceremony to lay a white wreath at the base of the doughboy. Taps was also played in honor of the soldiers.