Letter to the Editor

Cemetery events put focus on monument repair needs

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

To the Editor:

I would like to publicly thank a number of people and organizations who were instrumental in making possible recent Putnam County Heritage Preservation Society events.

As plans were being made for fall fundraising events, I became knowledgeable of the toll that time and weather have had on the significant monument to Putnam County Civil War soldiers that sits in preeminence on a hilltop at Forest Hill Cemetery.

As I listened and learned of the current state of the monument, I could not avoid feeling the need to focus community attention on what could easily be one of the most significant pieces of sculpture short of the Victory Statue recently removed, restored and replaced on its pedestal atop Indiana's Soldiers and Sailors monument in the Indianapolis Downtown Circle.

Our monument was the third monument to Civil War soldiers to be erected in Indiana after the close of the Civil War. To this day, it is one of the most unique.

Gen. Lew Wallace, author of "Ben-Hur," was among the dignitaries who gathered in 1870 to dedicate our monument. Due to the gratuity of the Friends of the Library, Ken Anderson of the Putnam County Library, Melissa Gough and Phil Gick of the Heritage Preservation Society Board, the Inn at DePauw, Almost Home, and the Final Approach, HPS was able to provide for the means to bring Bernie O'Bryan, Civil War historian and enactor, from Covington, Ky., to be available for the past weekend of activities.

With Mr. O'Bryan's help and the excellent coverage by this newspaper, I believe that we have been able to suitably begin to focus attention on our colossal "Western Soldier."

It is my personal hope that this beginning will draw many in the county to visit Forest Hill Cemetery in coming days and that, among those who do, there will be stimulated a desire to bond together in a move to save our Putnam County monument from the further wreck of time and weather.

Bonnie Yahraus

Vice President

Putnam County Heritage Preservation Society