Our opinion: Good year to revive Civil War monument
Like the renovation of the Pittsfield Veterans Memorial, which was re-dedicated on Memorial Day of 2010, the restoration of Pittsfield's Civil War monument in Park Square is a worthy cause. The current prominence of the War Between the States in America may aid in the effort to raise $30,000 for the restoration.
The statue, dedicated in 1872, only seven years after the war ended, was dedicated to the 108 soldiers from Pittsfield who died in the bloodiest conflict ever fought on America soil. The bronze Civil War soldier figure is badly corroded, and VFW Post 448 Commander Arnold M. Perras, the co-chairman of a committee of 14 veterans planning the restoration effort, told the Pittsfield City Council Tuesday night that the goal is to raise $15,000 by mid-May so bids can go out and work started by July. The other $15,000 would be used for the perpetual care of the monument so it will not be allowed to deteriorate again.
A total of $65,000 was raised to restore the Veterans Memorial on Veterans Way between South Street and Colt Road, with a portion of that money set aside for future care. Dedicated in 1926, the memorial pays tribute to the city's veterans of World War 1. It certainly should be possible to raise a little less than half of that amount to restore the Civil War statute, modeled after a color sergeant/flag bearer from Pittsfield, that stands in one of the city's most prominent locales.
The Civil War still resonates in American life in a variety of ways, and the critical and box office success of the film "Lincoln," which is based on President Lincoln's efforts to assure Senate ratification of the Emancipation Proclamation before the end of the war, has drawn renewed attention to the conflict's most dramatic consequence. This summer, the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg will be celebrated. General Robert E. Lee's Army of Virginia rode Confederate momentum into that small town in southeastern Pennsylvania, and its defeat there by the Army of the Potomac began turning the war inexorably to the Union's favor.
Only nine years after Gettysburg came the dedication of Pittsfield's Civil War monument, and it would be appropriate if this summer also marked its return to good condition and deserved prominence.
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