Polar Bear Memorial to Russian-Fightin' Doughboys
The "Polar Bears" were a Michigan Army regiment sent to Russia in the waning months of World War I. "At the urging of Britain and France," notes a plaque at this monument, which was erected at the graves of dozens of Polar Bears who never made it back. The much-later Cold War got all of the press, but the Polar Bears were the only American soldiers who actually fought Russians in real combat. Theirs was a small war, meant to punish the Commies for signing a peace deal with the Kaiser, and to prevent Allied stockpiles from falling into enemy hands. It was not successful, nor popular with the Polar Bears.
The large, scowling bear, made of marble, guards a helmet and a cross at its feet, defending the Polar Bears' graves. "Our country, right or wrong," is inscribed into its base. The surviving Polar Bears held annual reunions at the monument until 1983, but they're all dead now.