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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



White Pole Road Sign Pictures

I have this love hate relationship with history it seems. I get started on a project and can't seem to just let it be. Before I know it I'm four projects away from where I originally started and can't seem to find my way back.

Take this case in point. I attended a meeting of the White Pole Road Association last week. They are looking into the round metal signs that used to line the old White Pole Road that ran through our local towns.

The signs, about the size of a very large dinner plate...well if you were a giant anyway.. were pressed metal with a giant gold star in the center and the words "White Way Memorial Highway" stamped on them. There were approx. 3,600 men and women from Iowa who lost their lives in the War. It was estimated that there would be almost five markers per mile across Iowa.

The sings were placed along the road and bore the names of servicemen from the area killed in World War I. Interestingly enough as time has gone on, these signs seem to have been forgotten about, picked up by collectors and scrappers, and used for all sorts of things. Which brings us to today.

World War I seems like ancient history today. We read about the moving of the monument in Des Moines honoring Merle Hay, and most of us just pass it by as another footnote in history. Like the White Pole Road signs of old, the farther we get from our history the more we seem to loose. Just a little bit at a time, and yet at one point in our history the moments, names and faces that are long forgotten were once extremely precious to individuals around us.

Perhaps in 100 years the names and faces and memories of places we see on the nightly news, and the memory of the honorable young men and women who have died there will also just be a faint footnote in history. But wouldn't it be nice just for one moment to honor them again, and making sure that we, as we have promised, shall never forget those who have given so much in order that you and I can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

The next project that the group will be looking at is to replace some of those signs. The only problem is, no one knows very much about them at all. The records from that time period are pretty scattered and even searching the internet for clues has taken some hard detective work and plenty of time. It is believed the signs are from around 1920-25, yet no one seems to have an answer.

Even the State Historical Museum in Des Moines who has one on display knows very little about them. If you have seen one of these, can provide a clue as to who was on them, or even have one tucked away some where, drop me a line and let me know.

See you next week...remember, we're all in this together.