This worn World War I metal plaque was recently donated to the museum by the Benton family of Wayne County. The plaque measures 7.5 X 9.5 inches and is dated 1918. It was discovered in an open field on the Benton family farm in northern Wayne County. A mystery, the Benton family does not know how it ended up on their farm or to what soldier it belonged. The 106 year-old plaque is in amazingly good condition. Apparently these plaques were awarded to American soldiers who served in Europe during World War I.
The plaque reads: “LIBERTY’S ETERNAL TRIUMPH!
A TRIBUTE TO ONE WHO SERVED 1917-1918 MARSHAL FOCH’S VICTORY MESSAGE TO ALLIED SOLDIERS” the text goes on to say: ” Officers, noncommissioned officers, and soldiers of the allied armies: After having resolutely stopped the enemy you have for months fought him with faith and indefatigable energy, without respite. You have won the greatest war in history and saved the most sacred cause – the liberty of the world. Be proud. You have adorned your flags with immortal glory. Posterity preserves for you its recognition.”
There is a space at the bottom of the plaque where the soldier’s name would have been engraved. Sadly, this soldier’s identity remains a mystery.