Civil War memorial stands out on Memorial Day
On the 100-year anniversary of its original construction and dedication, Rifle’s Civil War Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Memorial in Heinze Park is undergoing a special re-dedication ceremony on Tuesday, May 30. The refurbished statue includes coloration improvements and a top to bottom polish.
The proclamation “honors those who fought in the Civil War and settled in communities such as Rifle” and outlines a brief history of the G.A.R., which formed as a veterans advocacy group following the war. By 1899, the Myron W. Reed Post No. 108 Post of the G.A.R. was organized in Rifle by 16 former Union soldiers, and in March of 1917 the Ladies Auxiliary of the G.A.R. raised money from the Rifle community to purchase the memorial to be installed in Heinze Park for $450.
Rifle Parks Grounds and Facilities Work Crew Supervisor Alan Lambert estimated that if the memorial were constructed today it would cost around $20,000.
He added that it is Rifle’s first memorial and remains one of the only statues in town to honor fallen soldiers.
“It signifies passing of the torch of old Civil War soldiers to anyone who has fought in wars since then,” Lambert said. “Now it’s becoming more of a dedication to all soldiers that have fought in wars.”
It was originally constructed to be a public drinking fountain, which has now been restored by B&B Plumbing as part of the re-dedication ceremony.
On Tuesday, workers from Carlson Memorials Inc. refurbished the 100-year old memorial and added the new re-dedication plaque that honors the G.A.R.’s hereditary successor, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) and its local chapter, Legion of the West, Camp 7.
The ceremony begin at Heinze Park on Tuesday at 1 p.m. and will include addresses by Judy Crook, a local Civil War historian, the Rev. Lisa Petty of Rifle’s United Methodist and Presbyterian Church, Legion of the West Camp 7 Camp Commander David Haake, and SUVCW Commander Garry Brewer. It will also include a reading of memories of Memorial Day by Mary Hannah Throm, niece of Corporal Joe Hansen, who was killed in action during WWI shortly after this memorial was originally dedicated. He helped form the American Legion Chapter in Rifle, Kelly-Hansen Post 78.
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