SILENT SENTRY PROJECT
On May 25, 2014, the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery will hold 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 will resume its duty in guarding the resting places of Veterans of America’s Civil War.
To date, the Friends of Laurel Hill have 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 an American granite base upon which the figure will rest; lighting; landscaping; commemorative materials; and the establishment of an endowment to provide for the maintenance and restoration of the monument.
The Friends invite members of the public citizenry to join them in partnership with MOLLUS, the General Meade Society, supporting military organizations, and esteemed guests for the historic Rededication of the “Silent Sentry” at Laurel Hill Cemetery on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at Noon, rain or shine.
Services will commence in traditional fashion, as gathered participants form 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 will then reform and proceed to the plot of the Grand Army of the Republic Meade Post #1, new location of the “Silent Sentry,” for a seated ceremony that will culminate with the unveiling of the monument. Keynote speakers include 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. The day will conclude with beer and light luncheon refreshments. Commemorative items, including 9.5” resin replicas of the monument created by nationally renowned sculptor,
Andrew Chernak, will be available for sale.
The event is free and open to the public; a $5 optional donation in support of Laurel Hill Cemetery's work and preservation is suggested and would be much appreciated. The event will include a copy of the commemorative program booklet and post-ceremony beer and refreshments. The ceremony will run approximately two hours, and will take place outdoors. Attendees are advised to prepare appropriately for the weather. Comfortable shoes are strongly suggested.
Donations to the statue's endowment fund can be made online, or by calling Laurel Hill Cemetery's office at 215-228-8200.
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