Monday, February 10, 2014

Stark Reality in Limestone

I looked up at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument 
last Saturday morning and caught a glimpse of 
the State Capitol building a couple blocks to the west.
The landmark is ever-present in the daily lives
of Indy residents, often used as a way to help others
find their way around town. "It's just off the Circle
on Market Street, about a half block east of the Monument," 
would be the easiest way to describe the location 
of the little shop where I had breakfast.

Completed in 1901, the monument was erected to 
commemorate the sacrifices made by Hoosier veterans
of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, 
the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the
Spanish-American War. 

One tends to take the presence of the figures 
for granted. The massed figures twisting and contorted
can be easily glossed over in passing, but I find them 
to be very graphic, especially during the winters.
It's then that the stark horrors of humans in combat
becomes as real to me as cold stone can depict.
I can almost hear the beating hearts of the snow-draped 
figures as they react to the screams, the weapons fire,
the pain of watching their friends die under their feet.
As a reminder of why wars are terrible, this
is not a pretty monument, easy to look at.
As an anti-war monument, it is beautiful. 

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

It is a powerful, evocative monument. Very, very impressive.