A nice size crowd of folks from the Franklin Tennessee community attended the 1pm ceremony for the formal unveiling of the marker for the Unknown Civil War soldier today in rest Haven Cemetery near downtown. It was perfect weather for a poignant occasion.

Franklin Unknown Civil War soldier marker dedication, April 12, 2011

Margie Thessin – Vice-Chair of the Battlefield Preservation Commission – opened the ceremony with some brief comments.

Professor and author Thomas Flagel shared some history of the Unknown Soldier. I have blogged extensively since 2009 on this story (see link).  Professor Flagel remarked how it was rather ironic and poignant that the Unknown Civil War Soldier’s marker was formally unveiled on the 150th anniversary of the opening to the American Civil War.

The money needed for the marker – $2,300.00 – was donated by over 70 people from all over the United States, and even one person from Ireland.

Robin Hood, also with the Battlefield Preservation Commission, was unable to attend but his remarks were recited by Margie Thessin (see below).

To see the photo gallery from the dedication ceremony click here.

Professor and author, Thomas Flagel

Comments for Ceremony Dedicating Sign for the Tomb of the Unknown Civil War Soldier, Rest Haven Cemetery, Franklin Tennessee | Robin Hood, April 12, 2011

When nationally heralded Philadelphia architect William Strickland located to Nashville in 1845 and began designing Tennessee’s State Capitol, little did he know that the Tennessee limestone he selected for its columns would succumb to the elements in less than a century.

In the 1950’s a major restoration of the Capitol replaced the crumbling columns, which were committed to a grassy hillside in the Cockrill Bend of the Cumberland River.

The State of Tennessee graciously donated a portion of this architectural reliquary to Franklin for marking the tomb of this unknown Civil War soldier, reentered here from the nearby battlefield.

In funerary symbolism, the broken shaft of a column represents a life ended short of full potential. However, what fuller meaning can be attributed to a life than its culmination in devoted service to one’s country.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

The ancient marble and limestone we use to commemorate the dead is a constellation of living matter from a previous time.  It is the composite of grasses and leaves… sinew and bone… sand and shell… all from eons past.

It is then fitting that this aggregate stone memorialize not just one unknown soldier, but all the brave soldiers – Union and Confederate – that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country on Franklin’s calamitous field of battle.

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