Archive for May 19th, 2011

New York state monument

This monument to the soldiers of New York state at the Battle of Gettysburg stands inside the National Cemetery, making it an interesting combination of cenotaph (as not everyone being honored is buried nearby) and mass funerary monument (since some of those men most undoubtedly were killed at Gettysburg and lie within site of the monument). The symbol at the very top is also a melding of multiple meanings.

New York state monument (2)

Towering high above the slight hills of the cemetery and nearly alone on this section of landscape (save the Solder’s National Monument), a woman clothed in classical garb holds out a laurel wreath as if to crown the brow of an invisible New York soldier before her. Laurel wreaths outside of the cemetery have long been a sign of victory, and so seem a fitting tribute to those New York soldiers who helped bring this important victory to the Union. In the cemetery, laurel wreaths signify not victory at war or competition, but of the soul over death, as well as immortality. This monument braids together multiple meanings by its placement inside another place of dual purposes: a cemetery that was once a battlefield.

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