Earlier today, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced that the Miantonomi Memorial Park Tower in Newport was among the first 50 official “WWI Centennial Memorials” from their 100 Cites/100 Memorials program.

Under the organization team of the Miantonomi Memorial Park Commission, City of Newport, American Legion, Newport Post 7 and Newport Open Space Partnership, the Miantonomi Memorial Park Tower was the only awardee of the first 50 to be announced that is located in Rhode Island.

The area now known as Miantonomi Memorial Park in Newport’s north end was the seat of power of Narragansett Indian Sachem Miantonomi, was purchased by English colonists in 1637, and was home to Revolutionary war fortifications. In 1921, the City received the park from the Stokes family, and in 1929 the Miantonomi Memorial Park Tower was built as a World War I memorial. Miantonomi Memorial Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1968. The Aquidneck Land Trust established a conservation easement on the site in 2005.

“Since the April 6th centennial of the United States declaration of war and the subsequent national awakening about WWI, the interest and focus on local WWI memorials around the country has had a nation-wide resurgence,” a statement from Kenneth Clarke, President & CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and Daniel Dayton, Executive Director of the United States World War I Centennial Commission says.

With this renewed interest, instead of simply extending the submission period beyond the one-year mark, the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program Executive Committee resolved to select and to name the first 50 awardees now.

Furthermore, during the World War One Centennial Commission meeting in Washington DC on September 13, 2017, the Commission resolved to designate the awarded memorials as “WWI Centennial Memorials”. Being the congressionally created U.S. government agency for the national commemoration of World War One, such a designation is an official national designation.

All awardees will, therefore, be presented with an official certificate to that effect and the program will make a bronze medallion of the designation available to the awarded memorials suitable to be affixed to them.

The 100 Cities/ 100 Memorials program is now opening a new submission period starting today, September 27, 2017, through January 15, 2018.

“It is important to note that selecting the 50 awardees was very difficult. We found that every project submitted is amazing in its own right. Though we are announcing 50 awardees now, literally every submission received, deserves recognition and congratulations. The program sponsors, supporting organizations and project staff wish to thank everyone who has and everyone who will be participating in the program. The dedication and honor the participants have shown to their community, their history, and our national heritage is genuinely humbling,” the statement says.

Ryan Belmore

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  He has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the boards of Fort Adams Trust, Lucy's Hearth, and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

In 2020, he was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, he spent 39 years living in Rhode Island before recently moving to Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two rescue dogs. He still considers Rhode Island home, and visits at least once a month.