West Virginia Veterans Memorial
The West Virginia Veterans Memorial was designed by Charleston native P. Joseph Mullins, and built in stages from 1990-1999. The monument honors the over 10,000 West Virginian soldiers who lost their lives in the service of their nation. The memorial was originally funded by private donations and completed with the support of the state legislature.
Backstory and Context
The memorial began as a privately funded project and began with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 22, 1990. The foundation was completed in 1991, and the monoliths were completed in 1992. In 1994, the legislature provided for supplemental funding that greatly increased the speed of construction. It is estimated that the memorial's total costs are higher than four million. The project has continued through the Veterans Memorial Archives, where background information has been gathered on each Veteran honored in the Memorial. This portion of the project is constantly being updated as new information is discovered about the Veterans.
The monument itself
contains four sculptures, also designed and sculpted by P. Joseph Mullins.
These sculptures include a World War One Army doughboy, a World War Two Navy
sailor, a Korean Conflict Air Force Aviator, and a Vietnam Marine Corps marine.
The Memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day 1995, and the World War Two Navy
sailor sculpture was also dedicated on that day. In the following years of 1997,
1998, and 1999 on Veterans Day, sculptures of the World War One Army doughboy,
Korean Conflict Air Force Aviator and Vietnam Marine Corps marine were
The memorial is a two-story oval monument to honor more than 10,000 West Virginias that made the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our Nation’s freedom. The memorial honors those lost in the twentieth-century conflicts, because it is almost impossible to determine the total number of West Virginians that served in the American Revolution, War of 1812 and the Mexican War with the state still being a part of Virginia at the times these wars were fought.
The memorial is made of four limestone monoliths with a reflecting pool around them. Each of the interior walls is finished with a polished black granite which has the names of the Veterans on them. The Veterans Memorial Commission compiled names of West Virginia Veterans to be used in the Memorial. This Memorial is for the brave West Virginian men and women who served in these twentieth-century wars.
P. Joseph Mullins was the designer of the memorial and the four statues that represent the major twentieth-century conflicts and one figure from each war. He is from Charleston, WV, and he had his studio in Charleston when he was asked to do design the memorial. Mr. Mullins received his MA in Fine Arts from Ohio University. He is a Vietnam veteran himself.
Some of the numbers of West Virginians that had served in the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Mexican War has been difficult to determine because West Virginia was still part of Virginia at the time. These estimates from twentieth-century wars were listed by the U.S. Veterans Affairs Office and the U.S. Dept. of Defense.
The monument honors 10,302 West Virginians
- Civil War (12 April 1861 - 26 May 1865): Estimated 40,000 to 46,000 (20,000-36,000 Union; 10,000-20,000 Confederate)
- Spanish-American War (21 April 1898 - 4 July 1902): 3,004
- World War I (6 April 1917 - 11 November 1918, extended to 1 April 1920 for those who served in Russia): 58,053
- 2,008 West Virginians
- World War II (7 December 1941 - 31 December 1946, extended to 25 July 1947 in some cases): 233,985
- 6,403 West Virginians
- Korean Conflict (25 June 1950 - 31 January 1955): 112,000
- 990* West Virginians
- Vietnam Era (5 August 1964 - 7 May 1975): 36,578
- 890 West Virginians
- Gulf War (1 August 1990 - cessation of hostilities on 11 April 1991): 12,000 bonuses paid
- Other – 11 West Virginians
- The memorial is located on the State Capital Complex behind and to the left side of
e-WV: The West Virginia
Encyclopedia "P. Joseph Mullins." e-WV: The West Virginia
Encyclopedia. 13 June 2017. Web. 21 July 2019.
Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. The West Virginia Veterans Memorial, designed by P. Joseph Mullins in, at the State Capitol complex in Charleston. -05-06. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2015631765/>.Hendricks, Pat. West Virginia Veterans Memorial. Korean War Project. . Accessed July 20, 2019. https://www.koreanwar.org/html/memorials/wv_mem.htm.
West Virginia Veterans Memorial. West Virginia Department of Art, Culture, and History. Accessed July 20, 2019. http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvmemory/wvvets.html.