The bond between military working dogs and their handlers is extremely strong, a life and death partnership between man and dog. After service has ended, the deep feelings for the selfless service of the dogs and the long lasting appreciation for the role of the war dog, has resulted in a number of permanent monuments to the dogs and their contributions.
War Dog Monument, Sacrifice Field, National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning, GA. Dedicated 8 October 2000.
For many years there was no national memorial to recognize the profound contributions of War Dogs to the U.S. military. That has been corrected in recent years, largely through the efforts of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association.
On 21 February 2000, the first official War Dog Memorial was unveiled at March Field Air Museum in Riverside, CA and an identical second memorial was dedicated 8 October 2000, (Columbus Day) at the National Infantry Museum, Ft. Benning, Columbus, Ga. The 19-foot high bronze memorials depict a GI in combat gear with a dog at his side. The inscription reads:
They protected us on the field of battle. They watch over our eternal rest. We are grateful.
Although uncompleted at the time, the USAF Military Working Dog Monument was dedicated on 9 November 2002 at the U.S. Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute (Maxwell AFB, AL). Engraved plaques funded by handlers carry the names of their dogs. Several bases raised enough funds to list all of their assigned dogs.
A U.S. War Dog Memorial is planned by the U.S. War Dog Association, to be located on the grounds of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Holmdel, NJ.
The oldest memorial to War Dogs in the United States is a private site at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, in the northern suburbs of New York City. This memorial was dedicated following World War I to honor dogs who served in that war. The inscription reads:
Dedicated to the memory of the war dog. Erected by public contributions by dog lovers to man's faithful friend for the valiant services rendered in world war, 1914 - 1918.
There are many more private or regional memorials to War Dogs in the U.S. as well as those in other countries honoring their canine soldiers. The bond of affection for these dogs will no doubt give rise to more over the years.
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