A Memorial to Indiana County’s Civil War Veterans
11, 2013, an honor guard of men dressed in Union Civil War uniforms held up their rifles and pointed them to the sky as the captain of the squad gave the order to aim and fire. A volley of shots shattered the calm of a crisp Veterans’ Day afternoon on the lawn in front of the Silas M. Clark House, a former post of the Grand Army of the Republic. A crowd of several hundred people gathered to witness the dedication service for the “Rest on Arms” memorial statue honoring the county’s
2,800 Union Civil War Veterans.
The dedication service was conducted by Civil War re-enactors from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, John T. Crawford Camp #43 and the Sarah A. Crawford Ladies' Auxiliary and was attended by several local dignitaries including Senator Don White and Commissioner Patty Evanko. The project, initiated by the SUV, was supported by the Indiana County Tourist Bureau and the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County. The SUV Memorial Committee consisted of Chairperson Timothy Nupp, Kenneth Bisbee, Robert “Slim” Bowser, Susan Carson, the late Chris Catalfamo, Eugene Decker, Terry Greene, Amy Gresh, Martin Harbaugh, Judie Johnson, Rev. Walter Marr, and Kenneth Hinton. (Articles about the project appeared in the Indiana Gazette on July 8, 2010 and November 6, 2013.)
Author and former president of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh, Ron Gancas was the keynote speaker. Mr. Gancas thanked the many Veterans present in the crowd and then spoke about those Union Veterans, mostly farm boys, who served our county 150 years ago. “This statue will stand for all time as their testament,” he said.
Richard Essenwein, department commander of the Pennsylvania SUV, said that the men from Indiana County “fought during our darkest hour,” as he also recognized the committee who raised funds for this project. “The group never faltered in their goal,” he said. “They took strength and inspiration from the men they wished to remember.”
Well-known Indiana County Sculptor John McCombie created his statue in a ceremonial pose known as Rest on Arms. The pose, as suggested by Chairman Tim Nupp, is thoughtful, prayerful, reflective and respectful. It is a non-warrior position, reflecting perhaps the longing for peace and reunion with friends and family that was and is always on the mind of the ordinary soldier.