If you have been to Downtown Lynchburg, you’ve probably laid eyes on the astounding series of steps at the top of the 9th and Church Street intersection. This is Monument Terrace, a staircase that stretches all the way down from Court Street and serves as a memorial to all of our brave Lynchburg soldiers from the Civil War to present day. You will find amazing bits of history documented throughout the 132 steps.
The Listening Post
At the base of the terrace, you will find the statue depicting a World War I infantry soldier called The “Listening Post,” though it’s locally referred to as “The Doughboy.” It was dedicated in 1926, and the names of 43 deceased soldiers are etched on the wall behind it.
Spanish American War
This short war lasted only eight months in 1898. The monument was erected in 1940 by the Craighill Camp, United Spanish-American War Veterans for those who served in the armed forces during this war.
World War II Monument
As you ascend, you will then find the World War II monuments set in place to the left and right of the stairs. You will find a wall on both sides with the names of fallen soldiers of Lynchburg etched into them—182 to be exact. A quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower is split between the two walls: “This war has been an array of the forces of evil against those of righteousness…. No matter what the cost, the war had to be won.”
Also in this area is a Desmond Doss marker, which pays honor and tribute to Desmond Doss, a Lynchburg native and the subject of the Oscar and Academy Award-winning movie, Hacksaw Ridge. Doss saved 75 men Okinawa, Japan.
Korean Conflict Memorial
Erected in 1986, the Korean Conflict monument lists the names of 24 Lynchburg residents who lost their lives during this conflict.
Vietnam War Memorial
Lynchburg lost 27 men in Vietnam. Also erected in 1986, the monument features a triangular obelisk with their names inscribed with an adjacent urn.
Prisoners of War – Missing in Action Monument
In 2005, the POW-MIA Monument was set in place in remembrance of soldiers who were taken captive and the thousands of soldiers who had gone missing during their active duty.
The Confederate Statue
Installed in 1900, the monument “to commemorate the heroism of our Confederate soldiers” stands opposite the Lynchburg Museum in the Old Court House. The bronze sculpture depicts the typical confederate soldier. A time capsule resides in the stone base containing items related to the Confederacy.
The “Support Our Troops” Rally
Every Friday at noon, veterans, as well as family and friends of active military, gather at the bottom of Monument Terrace to show support for our troops. It is a great time of honoring those who have served and those who are currently serving our country. They come together, wave their flags and encourage those in cars passing them to honk in support of our troops. They have met every Friday for over 900 weeks! And on the last Friday of every month, volunteers from Homes for Heroes serve food to all those who attend to show their support.
So while the Monument Terrace is breathtaking in scale and architecture, providing beautiful views of the city, it means so much more to the history of Lynchburg and the United States. It is the place we go to remember and honor the soldiers that sacrificed everything for the sake of our country. Next time you are at the steps, make sure you take your time to soak it all in.