Public rededication of Civil War monument Sunday at 2 p.m.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The long-awaited rededication ceremony for the Civil War Monument will take place in Greencastle's Forest Hill Cemetery on Sunday, July 1.

The 2 p.m. event is free and the public is encouraged to take part.

Forest Hill Cemetery Civil War Monument originally dedicated on July 2, 1870.

After a repair project spearheaded by the Heritage Preservation Society (HPS) of Putnam County that took longer than the war the monument commemorates, the ceremony will be an opportunity to celebrate the collaboration of multiple organizations, individual citizens and areas of government that helped to make the restoration a reality.

The program takes inspiration from the original dedication in 1870, with a mix of civilian and military participants marking the occasion.

For example, the Rev. Dr. Bowman, president of Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University), was a speaker at that historical event. On this Sunday, DePauw President Mark McCoy will reprise this role with a speech of his own.

Other orators Sunday will include Mayor Bill Dory, State Sen. Rodric Bray, Commissioner Dave Berry, Lt. Col. Jim Staggers of Greencastle, who is the deputy chaplain for the Indiana National Guard, and a major general from the Indiana National Guard Adjutant General's Office.

Also participating will be the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) -- Department of Indiana, led by Department Commander Tim Beckman. SUVCW is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of veteran heroes who fought to preserve the Union. Originally organized in 1881, there are hereditary members who trace their lineage back to those who served honorably in the War Between the States.

The SUVCW will conduct an official memorial rededication ceremony, which involves the presentation of colors, the firing of volleys and the playing of taps.

Additionally, free souvenir shirts featuring the Soldiers' Monument will be given away to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

A temporary platform has been built for the speakers' podium into the side of the the knoll that gently rises under the auspices of the stone soldier's watch, just above the period cannons. Spectators may want to bring chairs and blankets for seating in this area.

Forest Hill Cemetery Supt. Ernie Phillips, along with assistant Jason Keeney, will be hanging out the patriotic bunting on the gates and other areas. The VFW is providing flags. Comfort stations are being supplied by Baker Septic Service.

The landmark was saved by funding which came in part from the U.S. Department of the Interior, administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology; the Putnam County Community Foundation, Envision 2016 Grant; the Efroymson Family Fund Historic Preservation Fund Grant, the Government of Putnam County and the City of Greencastle. Many private citizens also contributed to the effort to preserve the Civil War Monument.

For example, back in 2012, Kim and Tim Shinn offered their newly-restored 1887 shingle-style Victorian on the corner of Poplar and Vine streets, now the "9 East on Poplar Guesthouse" (and popularly known as the "Dr. Clinton Zaring House"), to HPS for a house tour fundraiser to aid the restoration of the monument.

That was the beginning of the monetary campaign which after a long road will culminate in Sunday's celebration. DePauw contributed by inviting HPS to host an open house at their refurbished historic John Ireland House on Anderson Street with all proceeds going to the cause.

This undertaking was helped along by many in the leadership of HPS, but current President Phil Gick ushered the enterprise to closure by identifying, securing and coordinating much of the needed funding from various sources for the project. He oversaw the restoration work along with City of Greencastle attornrey Laurie Hardwick, since the municipality is the owner of the monument. Additionally, every attendee and volunteer who turned out for the many functions earmarked to gather dollars for the effort or made a donation contributed to the final success.

The 1870 ceremony was primarily intended to honor those who recently passed in the struggle to keep the Union intact and to help a fractured nation to heal. In addition to recognizing the sacrifices of soldiers and families, this is an opportunity to acknowledge the current community that came together to recognize and achieve a common goal.

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