Friday, January 25, 2008

America's First Memorial


On this day, in 1776, the Continental Congress authorized the first American war memorial in history. It was dedicated to Brigadier General Richard Montgomery who was killed during the failed attack on Quebec the previous year. It was also at this battle that Benedict Arnold was wounded.

Due to his exemplary leadership and bravery in battle, Montgomery was honored with the highest recognition the nation could afford him. The monument, which symbolizes Montgomery's bravery and intellect, was adorned with a plaque which reads:

This Monument is erected by the order of Congress 25th Janry 1776 to transmit to Posterity a grateful remembrance of the patriotism conduct enterprise & perserverance of Major General RICHARD MONTGOMERY Who after a series of successes amidst the most discouraging Difficulties FELL in the attack on QUEBEC 31st Decbr 1775. Aged 37 years.

Though obscured by years of progress, this monument, which still stands today at New York City's St. Paul's Chapel (directly across from where the World Trade Towers once stood), stands as a memorial to all Americans of the bravery of not only Montgomery, but of all Americans who fought and died in the American Revolution. Though virtually forgotten by the majority of the American populace, Montgomery retains a special spot in the pantheon of great American generals.

6 comments:

Raven said...

Interesting. next time im in NYC I will look for this.

David Mabry said...

It seems that is some ways the memory of the American Revolution has been left behind. The Founders have recently gotten a lot of attention (particulr biographically) and the Civil War has been rolling ever since Ken Burns' epic documentary. What many do not see is that is was the memory of the Revolution that many claimed to be fighting for in the Civil War. It was the sacrifices of their forefathers that drove these men to the battlefield. Both sides claimed to be preserving the "spirit of '76" and the republican principles so idealized by the American Founders.

Brad Hart said...

I agree with you David. The Revolution is often left in the dust due to other historical events that seem to perk more interest from the public (namely the Civil War and World War II).

Lindsey Shuman said...

Like Raven, I too was not aware of this memorial. If and when I make it to New York, I will FOR SURE make a stop to see this!

Brian Tubbs said...

The whole Quebec expedition was tragic. Tragic, confused, and yet heroic at the same time.

Steve Becknall said...

Very cool. I'm so glad this was not destroyed during 9-11. I've actually seen this monument before I got interested in history. It was impressive even then.