Letter: Monument deserves respect

May 26, 2023

While Concord’s April 19 Parade commemorates 1775 events, at the April 19,1867 dedication ceremony of Concord’s Civil War Monument, John Shepard Keyes offered these words:

“We do not forget our heroic dead. It is in remembrance that we dedicate this 30′ obelisk to the brave men who were faithful unto death.

Their lives, their deeds, their deaths we enshrine. Theirs were the toils, the hardships, the sufferings. Ours are the fruits of their victories.

Gratefully, kindly, honorably, we commemorate their example.”

At that same ceremony, Ralph Waldo Emerson referenced the pointed peak of the monument:

Tinged with the light of heaven.”

The Concord Civil War Monument Task Force will be replacing the 1867 tablet on the monument with a new tablet adding the name of George Washington Dugan, Concord farmer and widower, who at the age of 44 enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The 54th was the first Northern Black regiment in the Civil War. Initially listed “never accounted for” following the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, July 18, 1863, he was classified “supposed killed” by the commonwealth and will now be officially honored as Concord’s 49th fallen Civil War soldier with a dedication ceremony tentatively planned for Memorial Day, 2024. Restoration plans include professional cleaning of the base of the monument, which has not been cleaned since it was erected 158 years ago.

As the project moves forward, we are always mindful of these 49 men who made the supreme sacrifice, serving their town, regiment and nation with pride and distinction. In that spirit claiming our perpetual reverence, we respectfully request that citizens please refrain from sitting or standing on the shelf of the monument, leaning their bikes against the pedestal, or placing personal belongings on the shelf.

In cherishing the memories of their names recorded on the monument tablet, we have a duty to honor their devoted service. Their bravery changed history.

Rick Frese

Chair, Concord Civil War Monument Task Force