Often called "the Hiker," the United Spanish War Veteran Memorial honors those who served in the Spanish-American War. The Memorial is one of a series of memorials that line Memorial Avenue, the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.
History & Culture
The Spanish-American War was part of a longer struggle of Cuba to gain independence from Spain. Sympathy for Cuba in the U.S. coupled with the unexplained explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor prompted a declaration of war between the U.S. and Spain in 1898. The war lasted three months and took place around the Spanish colonies of Cuba and Philippine Islands. The war resulted in Cuban independence and the U.S. gaining possession of Puerto Rico and Guam.
The common soldiers were referred to as the Hikers. They engaged in the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba on July 1, 1898, which was led by Theodore Roosevelt. The Hikers represented the last illusion of the romance and glory of war or as an outdoor adventure. Twenty years later, the U.S. would enter the trench-filled battlefields of World War I.
The 8-foot tall bronze sculpture known as "the Hiker," represents the common soldier of the Spanish-American War. The soldier is standing in an at-rest position wearing characteristic hat, tunic, and trousers designed for warfare in tropical climates. Erected in 1965, the sculpture used was one of the last 52 editions of an original design created in 1921 by Theodore Kitson.
The Hiker stands on a 4-foot tall granite pedestal. A bronze plaque on the pedestal depicts the Army and Navy aiding Spanish colonists during the war.
Wreath Laying Ceremonies and Memorial Services
To obtain a permit for a wreath laying ceremony or memorial service, please contact the National Park Service at 703-289-2513.