Here is a description of each of the monuments located on the grounds of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium:
Bradford “Brad” Morse Memorial Walkway (cement walkway from East Merrimack Street at Concord River to the front steps of Memorial Auditorium). F. Bradford Morse (1921-1994), a veteran of World War II and a former Lowell City Councilor, was elected to Congress in 1960 where he was a strong advocate for fellow veterans. Morse also started the legislative process that ultimately yielded Lowell National Historical Park. In 1972, left Congress to become the Undersecretary General of the United Nations and later the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program.
Women Veterans Monument was dedicated on September 21, 1997 by the city of Lowell and the Greater Lowell Veterans Council. The monument honors the nearly 2 million women nationwide who have served in the military ranging from nurses and telephone operators in World War I to members of the combat arms today. The monument features the face of a woman service member framed by an American flag with the seals of the five branches of the military.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on May 18, 1986 by the city of Lowell and the Greater Lowell Veterans Council to the 21 men from Lowell who died in the Vietnam War and for all residents of the city who served in that war. The granite monument has six sides with five featuring the name of the service branch, its seal and the names of those serving in that branch who died in the war. The sixth side features an American flag, a map of Vietnam, and the dedication: In Memory of all Brave Men and Women From Lowell Who Served and All Those Who Gave Their Lives in Vietnam
Korean War Monument was dedicated on June 23, 1985 in a ceremony that featured Lowell Sun editor Clement Costello and a wreath laying by Esther Lefebvre, sister of Joseph Ouellette, a Lowell resident was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Korea. More than 7,000 residents of Lowell served in the military during the Korean conflict. The large granite monument features a spread-winged eagle grasping olive branches and arrows which symbolize that American seeks peace but is prepared for war. The inscription beneath the eagle reads Dedicated to all those who served In the Korean Conflict: June 25, 1950 to Jan 31, 1955
World War II Monument was dedicated on August 23, 1987. Thousands of men and women from Lowell served in the military during World War II and 377 of them died during the war including 268 in the Army, 84 in the Navy and 25 in the Marines. This large granite monument features a spread-winged eagle beneath a field of stars with the inscription Dedicated to all men and women of Greater Lowell who served in World War II; December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946; Army, Navy, Marines, Army Air Corps, Coast Guard
Spanish-American War Monument is a bronze soldier set on a granite base. It was sculpted by Melzar H. Mosman of Chicopee, Mass., in the early 1900s but was cast in 1958 by McGann Bronze Inc. of Somerville (several copies of this statue stand in other Massachusetts cities). Approximately 250 men from Lowell served in the military during the war, most in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (that era’s National Guard). Although none were killed in battle, 23 died from disease while stationed in Cuba or Puerto Rico. The dedication on the base of the statue reads To the honor of Her Sons Who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection and China Relief Expedition, 1898 1902. Not a war for conquest or for military glory, but a righteous war fought by American volunteers to succor the weak and oppressed against foreign tyranny and to give to Cuba and the Philippines a place among the free peoples of the earth. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Fire Alarm Box is part of Lowell’s original fire alarm telegraph system. Manufactured by the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co and installed throughout the city in the late 1800s, spring-loaded wheels within the box would tap out a pulsed electrical signal corresponding to the box’s location that would be received at Fire Department Headquarters. This system remained in use until early in the 21st century when it was replaced by a wireless system. This is one of the few remaining examples of a pedestal-mounted telegraphic fire alarm in Lowell.
World War I Cannon Monument is a 210mm German howitzer, one of hundreds captured by the American Army in World War I and transported back to the United States as “trophies of war” to be displayed in those communities that contributed the highest percentage of soldiers to the war effort. Manufactured in 1917 at the famous Krupp Works in Essen, Germany, this gun weighs 9 tons, is 10 feet high and 27 feet long. It has stood in front of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium since its delivery to Lowell in March 1928. Many similar guns were melted down as scrap metal in World War II, making this one of the few surviving German artillery pieces in the United States.
Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge carries East Merrimack Street across the Concord River to the front of the Auditorium. The bridge was dedicated by the city of Lowell on October 9, 1993, with at least seven Greater Lowell survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack present for the ceremony. Among the 2,403 American service members who were killed that day were three from Lowell: Clifton Edwards, a 24-year old seaman on the USS Curtis; Chief Water Tender John Targ on the USS Arizona; and 23-year old Arthur Boyle, a US Army Air Force mechanic who died at Hickam Field. The plaque unveiled at the Lowell dedication reads as follows: Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge: Dedicated to all military personnel who were on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, A Day That Will Live in Infamy.
Marine Corps Monument was dedicated on Sunday, November 7, 1993 by the Marine Corps League of Lowell to all the men and women Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have served with pride and honor in the U.S. Marine Corps. Originally located on Central Street in front of J.J. Turner’s Pub, the unofficial headquarters of the Marine Corps League in Lowell, the monument was later moved to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. The monument recognizes the birth of the United States Marine Corps on November 10, 1775 by resolution of the Continental Congress. The monument was also erected in memory of Leo T. Fortier, a local Marine veteran of World War II who was devoted to the Marine Corps League of Lowell and to all Greater Lowell veterans.
POW/MIA Monument is dedicated to all American service members who are still missing in action or who were once held as Prisoners of War. The monument is inscribed with the emblem of the National League of POW/MIA Families which features a white disk bearing the silhouette of a man, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. Above the disk are the letters POW and MIA which frame a white star. Below the disk is a wreath and the words “You are not forgotten.”
Veterans of Foreign War Benches are dedicated to past leaders of Lowell’s Walker-Rogers Post 662 which was chartered on April 26, 1921. Since then, the members of Post 662 have participated in every civic enterprise and undertaking intended to improve the lives of veterans who served overseas in times of war. The post is named for 1st Sergeant Ralph B. Walker of Company M, Ninth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, the first service member from Lowell to die in the Spanish-American War, and for Fireman third class George Rogers, the first from Lowell to die in World War I. Rogers perished when his ship, the USS Jacob Jones, was torpedoed by a German submarine.
Mary R. Galotta Memorial Bench is dedicated to Mary Galotta (1918-2007) who was active in the Gold Star Wives of Lowell and of America for more than 60 years, serving as the New England President, National Vice President, and a member of the National Board of Directors. Mary’s husband, Edward J. Galotta, was killed in action on March 8, 1945 on Iwo Jima. The tradition of hanging a gold star in the window of the home of a service member killed in wartime gave rise to Gold Star organizations for wives, mothers and family members to support those touched by wartime tragedy. Lowell has an active group of Gold Star Wives and Mothers who support each other and participate alongside veterans groups in civic ceremonies throughout the year.