By John Anderson
The Civil War Monument at Hillside Cemetery was rededicated at 12:30pm yesterday afternoon. Local, state, and federal politicians attended the event, but the important guests were in the wings and in the audience. Auburn Veterans were up on the hill while the Auburn Middle School Band and the entire Grade 7 class were down below to watch the event. The monument was restored last fall.
Town Manager Julie Jacobson welcomed the guests and introduced the speakers. She acknowledged the Chester P. Tuttle Post Color Guard and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Speakers were Congressman Jim McGovern, Doreen Goodrich on behalf of State Senator Michael Moore, State Representative Paul Frost, Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Bob Grossman, and School Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle.
Historical presentations were given by Guy Morin, a Civil War Re-enactor and Interpreter, and Local Historian Ken Ethier. The AMS band played two period pieces, Echoes of the Civil War and Battle Hymn of the Republic.
After a wreath laying by Congressman McGovern and local Vietnam Veterans, the band played God Bless America. Throughout, a small civil war encampment was in place courtesy of the Auburn Historical Society. Re-enactors Jack and Betty Murphy and Wayne Bloomquist sat by their tents for the students to view.
The monument was restored through a matching grant after Town Meeting voted to contribute $5,000 to the project. Town Manager Jacobson said,
“The $5,000 grant the Town of Auburn received was from the Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission in conjunction with the Mass Department of Veterans’ Services which makes available matching grants to help preserve the Commonwealth’s Civil War history. Grants are available to incentivize the restoration of monuments, memorials, markers, and documents significant to the history of the Civil War.”
Prior to the restoration, the monument was in poor condition with several major cracks and accumulated dirt and mold. The improvements came in under budget, so several other projects are in the works. A gravestone for Richard Jennison in the cemetery next to Wendy’s will be restored. He died of starvation in the Andersonville Confederate Prison. New replica grave markers were also purchased, and they read “GAR 1861 1865”, Grand Army of the Republic.
This was another proud Auburn moment, and it is nice to know that the 15 brave soldiers from our town who perished during this tragic war are still remembered 150 years later.
A salute to Daniel L. Hewitt, Edward B. Stowell, George F. Newton, George S. Williams, George D. Rice, Henry C. Newton, James Dollican, Joseph Delany, John C. Bean, M. M. Loverling, R. B. Jennison, Rhodes Stafford, William Hart, Wm. Howard Lecc, and E. D. Stowell.