A request for permission to erect a memorial to the Spanish American War in Arlington National Cemetery was initiated by Mrs. Winifred Lee Lyster, Chairman, Executive Committee, Spanish War Memorial and Marker, in March 1901. The design for the proposed monument was submitted to the Quartermaster General. After some revisions the Acting Quartermaster General recommended approval of the design and erection of the monument. The recommendation was concurred in by the Secretary of War, The Honorable Elihu Root, and he so informed Mrs. A. Livingston Mason, an officer in the National Society Colonial Dames, by telegram dated 23 October 1901. The telegram read as follows:
"Have approved design selected by Major True and granted permission for the erection of the monument provided the United States thereby incurs no expense"
The monument was unveiled and dedicated on 21 May 1902. The principal address was made by Theodore Roosevelt.
Another aspect of the Memorial Program of the National Society, Colonial Dames of America, was the presentation to Arlington Cemetery of a bound volume, Book of Patriots, containing the names of all the soldiers and sailors of the United States Armed Forces who died during the war with Spain irrespective of their place of burial. Permission was granted for the placing of this book in the Arlington House, then used as the Cemetery Superintendent's Office and Residence The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America requested and received permission to erect an elaborate bookstand of marble and bronze as a repository for this tome. This book stand was erected in 1904. It was of such weight that it required reinforcement of the floor beams of the Mansion. When the Superintendent's Residence and Office were moved from the Arlington House, the elaborate bookstand was removed (the whereabouts of this bookstand is not known 1979).
On 11 October 1964 at a Memorial Service at the Spanish American War Monument another Bronze Tablet (3 feet 6 inches square) was dedicated. The tablet is attached to the rear of the monument and reads:
To The Glory Of God And
In Grateful Remembrance
Of The Men And Women Of
The Armed Forces Who In
This Century Gave Their
Lives For Our Country
That Freedom Might Live
* * *
This Tablet Is Dedicated By The
National Society Of The Colonial Dames
October 11, 1964
This monument is approximately 50 feet high. It is in the form of a Corinthian Column of Barre Granite. Mounted on the column is a sphere of Quincy Granite on which is mounted a bronze eagle. On each corner of the base is a highly polished black granite sphere 18 inches in diameter. Along the top edge of the upper base (above the bronze tablets) are 5 inches bronze stars, 11 on each of the four sides, a total of 44.
In the rear of the monument are four guns mounted on concrete stands. The two outer guns are captured Spanish Cannons and are made of bronze. The two inner guns are United States Naval Guns.