Mayor Daniel Bianchi said he is proud that the city has not forgotten those who went to war.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The statue of a Civil War color sergeant in Park Square had been completely restored and rededicated.
The statue honors the 108 men from Pittsfield who died in the Civil War. The statue was erected in 1872 and had not been maintained until a coalition of veterans launched a fundraising effort to restore it.
On Saturday, it was rededicated — hours after the final touches were completed.
"Today this statue is still relevant and compelling. It tells a story of not just our past but our present and our future. It honors not only the soldiers of the Civil War but the soldiers of today and tomorrow, who continue to fight for all of our freedoms," said keynote speaker state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli.
While the statue was erected for Civil War soldiers, Pignatelli says he sees soldiers from all wars. The six-foot tall sergeant is not a particular soldier but one who represents all soldiers.
"This color sergeant is not a portrait but rather an ideal picture representing no particular hero, no particular company but rather a representative picture of the American volunteer," Pignatelli said. "It is not a face or figure that can be claimed by any town or city. But we have to believe there are thousands throughout these United States who feel this statue is intended for their loved one."
The sergeant was originally cast with bronze from melted Civil War cannons. The soldier stands on top of a stone base featuring plaques naming those from Pittsfield who died in the war. The front of the monument reads "for the dead a tribute, for the living a memory, for posterity an emblem of loyalty to the flag of their country."
On Sept. 24, 1872, the monument was unveiled to a large crowd. On Saturday, the rededication attracted around two dozen people including state representatives, city councilors and representation from an array of veterans groups.
According to Arnold Perras, chairman of the restoration committee, more than $42,000 was raised for the restoration and for establishing a maintenance fund. Perras said the committee would like to build up the maintenance fund more because the restoration cost more than expected.
"The sculpture is much more than a veterans memorial. It represents sacrifice of a community at a time of crisis in our nations' history. Until today there has been no maintenance on this monument and the elements for the last 141 years had taken their toll," Perras said. "Our mission was to raise enough money to restore this masterpiece to its original luster and glory."
The restoration was headed by the late Gregor Young III, who died earlier this year. Ceil Young, Gregor Young's wife, accepted a certificate for his efforts.
Mayor Daniel Bianchi said those long-ago Pittsfield residents mustered at Park Square and headed off to war — many never returning. He said he is proud that the city finds ways to recognize those who served.
Also in attendance was Abraham Lincoln, who stopped in to read the Gettysburg Address, and Rob Putnam, who played patriotic music. Ivan Newton of the Samuel Harrison Society told stories of Pittsfield soldiers' efforts during the war.