Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, December 4, 2023

Discovering the Magnificent "Dixie Doughboy"

Click on Image to Enlarge

The life-size bronze "Dixie Doughboy," honoring the men of the 31st Division of the AEF, was completed by sculptor Charles E. Smith in 2010 and dedicated that Armistice/Veterans Day that year at Merritt Island, Florida's Veterans Memorial Center. The Dixie Division included many of the 33,000 Floridians who served under General Pershing's command in France.

The Vero Beach Version

In 2021, the same molds were used to create a second Dixie Doughboy for Vero Beach, Florida. It is located at the community's Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary. The sanctuary, which opened in 1964, holds a number of tributes to the veterans of America's numerous wars.  

Details from the Merritt Island Version

Over the years, I've viewed hundreds of Doughboy statues and written about some of them here. Consequently, I'm embarrassed to say that I became aware of the Dixie Doughboys only recently. I ran across the photo at the top online and was struck by the dynamism and authentic detailing of the piece. The was, however, no location given for the statue. Luckily, I had my friend and historian of the World War I Memorial Inventory, Mark Levitch, to call upon and he gave me the locations.

Rifle Detailing

I hope you enjoy these photos and can visit these sites when you're next in Florida.

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