“A World Apart” World War II Monument, Savannah

Commemorates WWII veterans of Chatham County
Location West River Street, opposite Whitaker Street
Artists Eric Meyerhoff and Ken Brandell
Erected 2010

Savannah’s World War II Monument on West River Street, “A World Apart,” honors Chatham County’s veterans of the Second World War.

The memorial, dedicated in November 2010 after almost a decade of planning and work by the Veterans Council of Chatham County, its constituent organizations, and citizens of Savannah and county, is one of the city’s most striking.

The selection of the riverside site is especially appropriate, given the significance of Savannah’s waterfront in the World War II effort: Liberty Ships were built in its shipyards, and the port was a vital point from which war supplies were transported.

Another memorial to the casualties of WWII, the Marine Monument, is in Forsyth Park.

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The Monument

“A World Apart,” as Savannah’s monument to the veterans of WWII is officially named, sits adjacent to Savannah’s historic waterfront. The memorial is also known as the Cracked Earth Monument, both names reflecting its most distinctive feature.

“A World Apart” was designed by architect Eric Meyerhoff, and constructed by Ken Brandell at Brandell Studios of Key Largo, Florida.

The bronze and copper globe is split in two, a symbol of the division between the European and Pacific theaters of the War. The two halves of the globe are seated atop blocks of Georgia granite, between which visitors can walk. The names of the 527 Chatham County service people killed in World War II are inscribed on the monument’s inner walls.

The original plan for the current monument called for its placement in Oglethorpe Square, chosen for its central location and military associations (the square being named for General James Oglethorpe).

In 2006, that site selected, the Veterans Council began to look for architects and artists to design the monument. Retired architect Eric Meyerhoff, working at that time with the input of local artist Susie Chisholm (whose 2009 work, the Johnny Mercer Memorial, can be seen in Ellis Square) and Texan sculptor Garland Weeks, produced an initial design for the monument.

That design resembled the current monument in its larger details, consisting of the split globe, but also included a series of 8 or 9 figures of service people sculpted in bronze. These additional statues, which were to be Chisholm’s and Weeks’s contribution to the project, were removed from the final design.

However, once the plans for the monument were complete, objections arose to the Oglethorpe Square site. The monument, which was proposed to be 25 feet wide and more than 19 feet tall, was deemed to be out of scale with the square, and an incongruous contrast to the Owens-Thomas House and other historic buildings around it.

After some argument, an alternative site on River Street was selected for the monument. River Street’s historic associations as the location of Savannah’s World War II shipbuilding, the more modern aspect of the street, its wider vistas and greater tourist traffic all suggested this as the better site for the memorial.

Fundraising for the memorial was led by the Veterans Council, which set a target of $1 million for the construction and placing of the monument. Much of the money raised came from community donations. Over 2200 engraved bricks – laid around the base of the monument – were sold for $100 each, besides many other donations, large and small.

The inscription on the memorial reads:

World War II Memorial
Honoring all veterans of
Chatham County who gave
their lives to retain the freedom
of the United States of America
and saved the world from tyranny.