The Media Civil War monument on the lawn of the courthouse. One of the rare booklets in my collection is it's dedication.
NOTE: On May 9th 1903, the then sleepy town of Media, population in 1900 census
3, 075 jumped to almost 12000 by most estimates for one day. Why? read below
"Greatest day in the history of the Boro"
so said the Chester Times newspaper
Every old soldier in Delaware County has reason to feel proud of the success which attended the unveiling of the monument at Media on Saturday. It is estimated that twelve thousand persons were present, the greatest number ever in the borough at one time. People living in the pretty town were liberal to a fault in their decorations and this added much to the success of the occasion. Frequent comments were passed by the visitors about the beautiful display of flags and bunting which graced the buildings. The program which was published in Saturday’s Times was carried out without a hitch.
Every organization in the parade which preceded the unveiling ceremonies, looked well. The boys in blue marched as they did in ’61 and as Colonel Henry Clay Cochrane said in making his address on behalf of the Navy, that the men who fought so valiantly for the unity of the country had to be told that they are getting old, and that their ranks are fast becoming depleted. They showed no evidence of being old in the line of march on Saturday and stepped to the strains of the music with heads erect and looked every bit the soldier.
Much praise is due the committee, which had charge of the arrangements for the occasion. Had it not been for the late arrival of some of the Philadelphia G.A.R. Posts, everything would have gone off on time. As it was the parade was delayed over a half hour, but the crowd was good natured, and were liberal in their applause along the route of march.
THE FIRE FIGHTERS – The Media Fire Company with over one hundred men in line looked and marched well. The hose carriage drawn by the two white horses belonging to the undertaker William C. Rigby was much admired, as was the new ambulance of the Clifton Heights Fire Protective Association. The music was the best which could be secured in this section. In this connection those who arrived in the borough before 1 o’clock received a great musical treat. The First and Second Brigade Bands of Philadelphia both arrived on the same train and at the suggestion of the members of the organization played from the station to the Borough Hall. There were eighty pieces and the music was of a high order.
Although the parade was set down to take place at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Hundreds of persons came to the borough on the early morning trains and trolleys. The restaurants were taxed to feed the hungry crowd, and the trolley companies gave excellent service. Thousands of visitors came in teams, many in large wagons with and without springs.
VIEWING THE MONUMENT – The inscriptions on the monument were scanned by hundreds before the parade started. The inscriptions are as follows:
East panel – “In grateful remembrance of the soldiers and sailors of Delaware County who fought for the unity of this republic this monument is dedicated that future generations may cherish the principles of civil and religious liberty.”
South panel – “Our country will ever remember and cherish their deeds of valor.”
West panel – “We honor the memory of the noble and patriotic women who aided the defenders of our country.”
North panel – “Heroes they were from the men who fell in Baltimore to those who stood victorious at Appomattox.”
EXERCISES AT THE MONUMENT – The scene at the monument was inspiring. It was a surging mass of humanity which was crowded about the shaft and the stand where the exercises took place. There was one drawback to this part of the program. It was nearly 4 o’clock when the head of the procession reached the monument, and Thomas J. Dolphin, chairman of the committee and chief marshal of the parade, started the exercises. The bands at the heads of the various organizations were arriving and playing all the time, and few except those right near the stand could hear that several of the speakers said. Added to this during the time that O.B. Dickinson, Esq., was speaking. Post 51, of Philadelphia, was firing off its cannon nearby the monument, and it was with difficulty that the learned gentleman could make himself heard by those in the stand.
John Grim, who received the monument on behalf of the soldiers and the citizens, stopped in the middle of his speech and waited until one of the hands got through playing “Old Hundred.” “I cannot talk against the band,” said he.
The exercises opened with a selection by the First Brigade Band of Philadelphia after which Rev. David Tully, pastor emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church of Media, offered prayer and asked God to bless the monument.
THE WELCOME ADDRESS – Owing to the length of the program Burgess A.G.C. Smith of Media, spoke but five minutes welcoming the soldiers and sailors, and the guests of the day to the beautiful county seat town. He said, “Mr. Chairman, Soldiers and Sailors, Ladies and Gentlemen: We have assembled this afternoon to perform a long neglected duty which might have appropriately been conceived in the minds of the children, now grown to manhood, of those who sacrificed so much for our greatly beloved country.
It has been the custom for many centuries to erect monuments to the distinguished dead and to mark important historic events and places. The ancient Druids had their cairns, the Arabian his mastaba and the Egyptian erected the obelisk and pyramid to the memory of the Pharaohs.
The deeds of brave men have been recorded in the earliest history of mankind and literature is full of interesting examples. The early tendency to pay tribute to the lives of great men and hand down to prosperity accounts of their great deeds is shown by the ancient Greek and Latin writers in their mythological productions as illustrated in Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid. It is also illustrated in the legendary story of William Tell. Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” and Longfellow’s “Evangeline” relate touching incidents of bravery and sacrifice. Caesar Rodney’s Ride and Paul Revere’s Ride of Colonial days and Sheridan’s Ride of the Civil War are recited from many public platforms. The Star Spangled Banner, inspired at the bombardment of Fort McHenry, thrills every American heart when sung and what old soldier will not raise his voice in song when he hears “Marching through Georgia?” These are a few of the monuments erected in literature, history and song to keep fresh in our memories the men and events of nations.
Many men of wealth today are erecting monuments to their own memory in establishing great institutions of learning, large libraries, hospitals and like institutions and by endowing those already established. This is a grand work and many will rise up to call them blessed for the help they have received from their generous gifts.
I believe that the soldiers and sailors of the Civil War have unconsciously erected to their own memories, monuments more enduring than those of granite, literature and institutions to which I have referred. Many of us can recall the father’s affectionate leaved taking with his family, receiving with the parting kiss of his devoted wife her “God bless you,” of the son’s farewell with a like benediction and the lovers’ equally tender separation. How anxiously each looked for the morning mails and newspapers to learn of the safety of their dear ones and how many hearts were saddened by each day’s news.
Monuments of love and affection for the brave deeds and self-sacrifice of the defenders of the Republic have been erected in the hearts of the American people and at the firesides and in the public schools, the greatest institution of which the nation can boats, the foundations of these monuments shall continue to be laid strong and deep by the parents and our faithful teachers, that they may never crumble or decay. As one evidence of it, listen today to the patriotic enthusiasm with which these children will sing our national airs.
Another monument to the brave deeds of the men who served our country on land and on sea is this great nation. “My own, my native land” preserved intact, bought by them at the sacrifice of business, great hardship and thousands of lives – a nation whose industrial development is scarcely equaled by any other nation in the world, whose mineral resources are among the richest, whose educational institutions are liberal and efficient and best of all, a national heart beating strong for peace and overflowing with sympathy for the suffering and oppressed, and a longing desire for the diffusion of all those principles which shall bring enlightenment to the nations of the world.
But I am reminded by a letter from the chairman of the committee or invitation that the program must conclude at a fixed hour and I must not trespass upon your time. We are delighted to have with us today these representatives of the brave boys in blue and their many friends. As representing the citizens of Media, and I may say Delaware County. I extend to you a most cordial welcome to this beautiful spot and congratulate you upon what promises to be one of the most interesting events that has ever taken place in the county.
May God bless you all.
Following this several hundred school children of the Media public schools, under the leadership of Miss Henrietta Smedley sang a patriotic song. Catherine Gorman, a little girl, assisted with the cornet. With the band playing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Captain Caleb Hoopes, the oldest living veteran in Delaware County, pulled the rope which held the veiling and the shaft stood forth in all its glory. The audience sang, “The Star Spangled Banner,” while hundreds of little flags wafted through the air from the top of the monument. These were eagerly sought by those about the shaft. Captain Hoopes wore his regalia and was as young as any about, notwithstanding he is past 87 years of age. It was a
Proud moment in his life when he pulled the string which presented to view for the first time to many of those present this fine testimonial to the valor of the soldiers and sailors.
O.B. Dickinson, Esq., who presented the monument to the people of the county on behalf of the G.A.R. committee who had charge of its erection, spoke as follows:
THE DICKINSON’S SPEECH – The moralist would doubtless be very much surprised and in an equal degree chagrined to learn how many even of the very best of human actions are prompted by the instinct of selfishness. He would surely condemn the teaching which would ascribe every good deed to the promptings of selfish interest and yet he could scarcely deny the fact that the essential difference between a good and bad man, is often only the difference between what each believes and deems to be for its own best interests. We are here today to land the sentiment of patriotism and yet patriotism is the outcome if self-interest. It is our flag, our country and our homes that we love. That land has ceased to be the abode of a genuine patriotism whose confines are so enlarged that the whole land does not feel the thrill of a common joy or the throb of sympathy in a common misfortune.
If we would cultivate true patriotism we must weld our people together in a common interest and make them truly one. The sentiment of patriotism though a selfish sentiment is a selfishness so purified and ennobled, sanctified and hallowed that our interests are list in the common weal and our feelings absorbed by the common concern. There comes a time in the history of every people when the call goes forth for the best brawn and brain and blood which the nation can produce.
Well is it when the call is heard by a people in whom the sentiment of patriotism is unchecked by the feeling that it is only the fool who responds to his country’s needs. The man who loves his country only when it pays to do so is a traitor already at heart, but that man is no less a patriot whose patriotism is rewarded by the plaudits of his grateful countrymen. It is the part of wisdom in us to hold out the highest rewards for those who strive successfully for their country’s good and that people who makes it pay to be patriotic will not lack for patriots.
The desire for posthumous fame, the feeling that to our deeds our children and our children’s children may point with swelling emotions of pride as a reward to which the best of men aspire and the least ambitious of men responds. We have divine sanction for according praise “to them that do well.” The “storied urn and animated bust,” the marble shaft and the figure of bronze have a hard-hearted value beyond their material cost. The statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square; the tall shaft of the Washington Monument and the marble which now gleams white on the battlefields of Antietam and of Gettysburg express not merely the grateful sentiments of a gratified people, but they are investments which will pay handsome and ample dividends in future deeds of heroism.
Believing in the wisdom as well as the justice of paying this tribute to the heroes of the great Rebellion the public authorities have authorized the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money in the erection of this monument.
The time which has been allotted to me in these ceremonies is about exhausted but I cannot close without speaking one word of caution and sounding one note of warning. No one knows better than the veterans of a great war and particularly of a civil war that nothing so shocks the fervor of patriotism as the manifestation of that spirit of sordid commercialism by which too many are actuated.
Believing that those who did the real work of the war not only in the camp and on the march, and against their foes on the open battlefields, but who fought no less vigorously against the rascally contractor and the traitorous politician and would wring a selfish gain from the agonies of a nation, will fight the same sordid spirit whenever it seeks to gain a profit from the nation’s gratitude. I am commissioned on behalf of the public to commit this monument, erected and dedicated to those who loved and made sacrifices for their country to the loving care and custody of the Associated Veterans of the War of the Army and Navy.
RECEIVING THE MONUMENT – The monument was received by John L. Grim of Post 21 of Philadelphia, who related the hardships of the men who fought in defense of their country. After singing by the school children, Prof. John Russell Hayes of Swarthmore College, read the ode, which he composed and dedicated to the monument:
COLONEL COCHRANE TALKS – The children sang “The Old Flag Shall Never Drag the Ground.” The chairman announced that the speech of Judge Isaac Johnson on behalf of the navy. He said that the navy offers great opportunities today.
“You can enter the bridal door and reach the cabin, if you have the ability, for the first time in the history of our navy.”
Speaking of the war, the Colonel said that no matter to what risks the naval man is put, he is always sure of a bed to sleep upon at night, a luxury which was not enjoyed by the men who fought so valiantly in the war of ’61 to ’65.
Col. Cochrane referred to Dewey Schley, Sampson and other great naval men and said that this country always has men for all emergencies. He said that the young men should be taught to take the places of their forefathers. The Colonel was heartily applauded.
THE CLOSING EXERCISES – The exercises were brought to a close by all present singing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” after which Department Chaplain Rev. John W. Sayers, pastor of Trinity M.E. church, Chester, pronounced the benediction.
Many of the visitors remained over for the camp fire in the evening in the courthouse.