The Single Soldier is a Reminder for the Genealogist and All

There are monuments to those who have served. All over this country, one may happen upon one on a building or in a town square. RecordClick genealogist Joan Shurtliff focuses on the Single Soldier monument that you may have passed recently and not noticed. This week, with Memorial Day, let’s all take note of these silent heroes.

This RecordClick genealogist has lost count of how many I’ve seen. They grace parks, cemeteries and on courthouse squares across this country. Sometimes called “Single Soldier” or “Silent Sentinels,” they are the most common statues.

The soldier statues may represent either the Confederacy or the Union. Some are large. Others are smaller. Some depict young men. Others are older soldiers. There may be some symbolism in what the soldier is wearing or in his stance depicted. The positions may vary, but the soldiers stand with a rifle and ready, watching, watching.

From the research files of this genealogist, I have found that they started watching soon after the Civil War hostilities ceased. Cities and towns wanted to honor those who fought, and died, for the land that they called home. The people needed to remember. On the base of the statue on the courthouse square of this genealogist are the words: “Antitem, Chanchellorsville, Gettysburg, Shiloh” as well as “Dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of 1861-1865”. Other memorials may have other inscriptions. The soldiers were a blank slate waiting to serve the village or city.

The veterans kept watch over each other after the war. Many helped bury their comrades-in-arms years later with the act noted in newspaper obituaries.

As time has passed, each sentinel has become unique. Many have acquired plaques and memorials for other wars – World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The people needed to remember then. We need to remember now.

This holiday weekend, take time and make time to find a moment. Remember the Single Soldier. He is  there watching…

When you work with a professional genealogist from RecordClick, we serve you and fill in the blanks you may have today with your family history. Every genealogist working with us knows how to find the heros, the veterans, the ancestors who have served.

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