SILENT SENTRY PROJECT
On May 25, 2014, the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery held a public ceremony rededicating the “Silent Sentry,” an historic bronze statue of a Civil War soldier at parade rest, first dedicated in 1883 at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Southwest Philadelphia.
For nearly 100 years, the “Silent Sentry” watched over the gravesites of over ninety Union Veterans at Mount Moriah.. In the 1970s, the 700-pound, 7’2” statue was removed from its base in an attempted theft. It was recovered and repaired by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), who maintained the monument for decades with the assistance of the Laran Bronze Foundry. In recent years, efforts were made to find a suitable public location for the “Silent Sentry,” in keeping with its original purpose. In 2013, MOLLUS approved its relocation to Laurel Hill Cemetery, where it has resumed its duty in guarding the resting places of Veterans of America’s Civil War.
The Friends of Laurel Hill raised nearly $40,000 in charitable donations from dedicated citizens, public charities and fraternal organizations to fund the costs of rigging and relocation; the construction, installation and inscription of the American granite base upon which the figure rests; lighting; landscaping; commemorative materials; and the establishment of an endowment to provide for the maintenance and restoration of the monument.
The 2014 rededication of the "Silent Sentry" commenced in traditional fashion, as gathered participants formed a parade to the gravesite of General George Meade, victor of Gettysburg, for a brief ceremony in annual observance of Memorial Day. The first Memorial Day commemoration in Philadelphia took place in 1868 at Laurel Hill Cemetery. The parade then reformed and proceeded to the plot of the Grand Army of the Republic Meade Post #1, new location of the “Silent Sentry,” for a seated ceremony that culminated with the unveiling of the monument. Keynote speakers included Brigadier General Wilbur E. Wolf III, Deputy Commanding General, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard; Richard Wood Snowden, great great grandson of Colonel A. Loudon Snowden, who delivered the keynote address at the first dedication of the “Silent Sentry” in 1883; and Waldron Kintzing Post II, Commander-in-Chief of MOLLUS.
Donations to the statue's endowment fund can be made online, or by calling Laurel Hill Cemetery's office at 215-228-8200.
A 9.5" commemorative resin replica of the monument created by nationally renowned sculptor, Andrew Chernak, is also available for sale. Order yours today online.
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