The War Memorial is one of the centerpieces of the Town. The history of the Memorial starts in May 1939 when the Navy Department donated a 4.7 field piece to the Post. This gun was transported to the Post Lot on Colonial Avenue across opposite the Dance Pavilion in June. In October 1939 the field piece was moved the triangle of property across from the Catholic Church, said property being owned by the Town. The Post also placed blocks under the field piece and painted the field piece in December. In March 1940, the Post requested permission from the Mayor to erect a flagpole at that location. In September 1942 the War Production Board requested the Post sell the field piece and turn it into scrap to help in the drive for old scrap iron. The membership voted to give the field piece to the authorities at Fort Belvoir if they would haul it away. On Sunday, October 5, 1947 at 2pm the War Memorial was finally dedicated after many years of planning and fundraising. One plaque containing the names of World War I & II veterans was secured to a marble base. Admiral C. Turner Joy and Mayor W.D. Williams officiated. In 1950 another gun was requested. The gun was the three inch gun currently at the Memorial. To date, additional names from other conflicts have yet to be added.
From the Journal Press NOVEMBER 7, 1989 Renovation of Colonial Beach War Memorial in progress Donations needed for plaques by L. Coates
"Each brick is carefully nudged into place. An eagle eye ascertains whether its a perfect fit. An additional tap causes the bubble in the level to hit dead center. Such precision, such time consuming effort. For several hours each day; off and on over the course of two years, this labor of love for all veterans has been undertaken by Reverend Robert Lawrence and numerous associates. Their goal has been the renovation of the Colonial Beach War Memorial. Built in 1947 to honor ‘the Colonial Beach Boys' who served in World War I, World War II and the Merchant Marines, the memorial was on the verge of devastation. "The ground was giving way and there were cracks in it," noted Frances Karn Karn only has to peer out her porch window to see the memorial that her late brother, James D. Karn, was instrumental in having built. In the past few years, Reverend Lawrence, Tommy Salingrer, Bob Bristow, the late Irie S. Nichols, the late David Tubbs, the late Lawrence Torrence, the late Lloyd Thomas, Carlton Garrett, Marvin Cowan, Don Warner, Bill Timms, A1 Hicks and many others have joined forces to see that the memorial stood intact. They have since succeeded in building steps to the memorial, are currently working on paving the entire base and hope to install a sidewalk and handrail in the near future. The ultimate goal, noted Karn, is to add plaques to recognize the local men who served in the armed forces during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The late Jimmy Karn, a young man with Bulber polio, who spent many an hour writing to the men over seas, sending them newspaper clippings and writing articles about the servicemen in a local paper, spearheaded the effort for the memorial. L. C. Costenbader, Mayor of Colonial Beach at the time, was able to get the state to. donate a triangle of land on a beachfront street in Colonial Beach for the memorial. E.E. McCartney, a retired Naval Chief and Commander of the American Legion Post, was able to obtain a gun from a World War lI ship that completes the memorial. While many a child, and adults, too, are attracted to that tremendous gun, a plaque inscribed with numerous names, brings home the reason for the gun being placed there. Dedicated on October 5, 1947, the memorial is a result of numerous pledges by the community. In recent years, an additional $4802 has been raised to restore the memorial. Ms. Karn noted however, that those funds were dwindling fast. "There is probably enough left to finish the block work," she said, "but a lot more is needed for the memorial part itself (the additional plaques)." Kam noted that the free labor provided by the previously mentioned men along with donations of mortar sand from Bowie's Sand and Gravel (George and Marie Bowie) and other donations have kept the restoration efforts alive. Karn tries to supply the workers with drinks as often as possible. Others often provide lunch. Of the volunteer efforts Karn says "It's such a wonderful community thing. How many people do you know would get on their hands and knees and do that?" With cold weather approaching, Reverend Lawrence noted that his work will have to cease until the spring." Donald Bradley donated the pictures of the dedication ceremony. Our sincere thanks to him.