Have you ever seen this photograph before? It captures the unveiling of the monument to Racine veterans of the Civil War on July 4, 1884. It’s the day that Haymarket Square became Monument Square.
Did you know that the monolith is 61 feet tall and made from Vermont granite, topped with an 8-foot 9-inch hand-carved soldier?
I learned these statistics when I read this month’s Racinian to Remember article by Margo Drummond (see page 26).
I knew the monument honored Racine’s Civil War soldiers, but it got more personal when I read in Margo’s story about M.B. Erskine that his 20-year-old son Freeman Eskine died during the war and his sister, Flora donated $1,000 of the $8,000 cost of the monument in memory of her brother.
Last night when I drove through downtown after a band rehearsal, I looked up to the top of the monument I saw something different – a person, instead of just a statue.
This is the inscription on the monument: “In memory of Racine’s loyal and noble sons who enlisted to defend and perpetuate the union of these United States in the War of 1861-1865.”
On Nov. 11 we will observe Veterans Day to honor all the men and women who have served as military veterans in the United States Armed Forces. Previously known as Armistice Day, it’s also the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War 1.
I think it’s also a good day to think about Racine’s Union soldiers and the significance of Monument Square.