Part of the effort involved taking the time to honor veteran history long past. While recently installed veteran monuments often receive care and attention from family and friends, our monuments recognizing the sacrifice of previous generations often fall into disrepair. Operation Gettysburg taught middle school students that we must never forget. They took the lesson seriously, raising funds to upgrade several important monuments.
But it is missing something.
If you look closely, the historic building is lacking some copper detailing found only in old photographs. We worked with the Memorial Hall staff to locate the old copper (in the basement) and find a coppersmith willing to restore the missing pieces. The missing copper wreath, shown in the photographs above, will be restored and unveiled in time for Memorial Day 2014.
Grand Army of the Republic Memorial - Wyoming Cemetery
While the monument is a stunning work, few know it exists. We aim to highlight this important memorial and update several of its features in order to restore its original honor and dignity. It is truly a community effort. Eagle Scout Candidate Jonathon Havey is mobilizing Troop 635 this spring and working with Wyoming Cemetery officials and the Melrose Veterans Advisory Board to add educational components and features to the memorial. Additionally, we will be cleaning and pointing the monument, unveiling the upgraded design in time for Memorial Day 2014. The goal is to call attention to the monument while maintaining its historical feel.
Civil War Graves and Monuments - Wyoming Cemetery
Additionally, two graves in the cemetery serve as historic reminders of the role Melrose played in the Civil War. The Hesseltine Grave is the first. It is a replica of the nation's highest military award and the final resting spot of Francis S. Hesseltine. He was awarded the MOH for "extraordinary heroism on 30 December 1863, while serving with 13th Maine Infantry, in action at Matagorda Bay, Texas." Due to the placement of this memorial under a beautiful, but weeping tree, the base no longer receives the sunlight necessary to sustain vegetation. We are working to correct the land around the memorial and to clean the monument in a manner befitting a MOH.
The second grave is final resting spot of LTC Clark Baldwin and is a replica of a monument to the First Massachusetts found at the Gettysburg National Battlefield. Baldwin's unit played a integral role at Gettysburg. As recoded on the national monument, "It brought 384 men to the field, losing 16 killed, 83 wounded and 21 missing." Operation Gettysburg students will visit both Memorials as part of their club's effort to honor Melrose's veteran history and we will ensure the monument is cleaned and pointed, recognizing the local hero's role in one of the nation's most important moments.