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National Civil War Memorial - NCWM
To commemorate the heroic effort of the thousands of Americans involved in the War Between the States and to the significance of the lasting peace, brotherhood, and national identity of the United States, nationally recognized historical sculptor, Gary Casteel, will create a memorial in stone and bronze, depicting the complete four year struggle in bas-relief and three dimensional form. The memorial will be a lasting tribute to America's past and provide a tangible journey to future generations of young Americans. The art and text of the memorial will deliver the recognition its historical significance merits.
The Proposed Memorial
The Proposed National Civil War Memorial is a creation involving Victorian design with the introduction of artistic and educational material. The design involves the coliseum concept of attracting the visitor to enter into the space and sympathize with what is found.
The Memorial will be constructed on a North/South axis, with the East/West line commemorating the Mason-Dixon Line. Walkways of brick, eight feet wide and thirty feet in length, originating from the four center directions, will lead past life size bronze Civil War military figures representing the Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, and Navy, two on each walkway, beckoning the visitor to enter the ninety foot diameter chamber and better understand the Great Struggle of the past.
The North/South walkways will contain flagpoles flying the appropriate flags of the Union and the Confederacy, circa 1861, respectively, representing division of ideals and states. The East/West walkways will fly the contemporary fifty star United States flag in recognition of peace and unity. Upon reaching the main plaza, the visitor will enter the interior by way of eight foot wide openings in the ten foot high granite walls. The exterior of the wall will contain statements by documented civilians relating to the upcoming war and the horrors of life during the struggle.
At each column will be an eighteen inch diameter bronze bas-relief portrait of a prominent civilian, selected and considered by historians, to be an important witness of the period. The interior panels will contain four by five foot bronze bas-relief tablets with particular scenes of the war, flanked by the US and CS cypher.
These important battles or events will be selected by historians as representing those happenings that determined the beginnings and outcome of the Civil War. Below the tablets will be listed the event, date and if a battle, and the loss of life. At each column will be an eighteen inch diameter bronze bas-relief portrait of a prominent military figure determined to be instrumental in various aspects of the War. The end columns of each wall section interiorly and exteriorly will contain engraved seals of the United States and the Confederate States as well as draped flags of each country.
In front of each interior wall section will stand a bronze life size civilian representing frustration, calamity, deprivation, and hope. The center area of the plaza will feature five life size bronzes, two veterans seated together on a bench, nearby, three young children earnestly listening to the words of wisdom from the old soldiers.
The brick walkways and plaza will contain the names of thousands of veterans. Completely surrounding the Memorial will be flag poles containing the thirty-five state flags of those states involved in the War. Also, stone benches will be strategically located for visitor rest and contemplation. Beyond the Memorial, low growing shrubs will separate the walkways from the grass lawn and seasonal plantings. Each corner of the Memorial site will contain stone signage indicating the Memorial.
A pleasing design that commemorates, nationally, the one event in American history determining the true American character of today.
Panel of Historians
The exterior walls of the Memorial will contain statements by documented civilians relating to the upcoming war and the horrors of life during the struggle. At each column will be an eighteen inch diameter bronze bas-relief portrait of a prominent civilian, selected and considered by historians, to be an important witness of the period. The interior panels will contain four by five foot bronze bas-relief tablets with particular scenes of the war, flanked by the US and CS cypher.
These important battles or events will be selected by historians as representing those happenings that determined the beginnings and outcome of the Civil War. Below the tablets will be listed the event, date and if a battle, and the loss of life. At each column will be an eighteen inch diameter bronze bas-relief portrait of a prominent military figure determined to be instrumental in various aspects of the War.
We have assembled a distinguished group of historians to be on the selection panel. Individuals and events memorialized will be a common consensus of this panel of historians.
Throughout the history of man, he has revered and memorialized the places their armies have met and fought. Among the earliest monumentation efforts are the obelisks commemorating the defeat of the Assyrians, Egyptians, and Roman Legions. Around the world, arches and temples have been erected to glorify the combatants of the battlefield.
Monuments, built by the victors, proud of their triumphs, informing the world of their greatness. However, behind the glory and boasting lay the true message, understood by all future generations, that war is the most traumatic human experience. Men go to war and form an army; when they go into battle, they are acutely aware that his may be the only life lost. Nothing else delivers a man face to face with themselves and what is best or worst in them. Therefore, the battlefields have become hallowed ground the world over, and nowhere, more than in America, that went to war with itself in 1861 and turned the landscape red with its own blood.
After the War Between the States, North and South, the veterans' organizations pressured state legislators to provide funds to erect monuments honoring the wartime deeds of valor. Soon, almost every village had at least a stone or tablet honoring the men who had fought.
The intent behind the memorials was reflected in one soldier's prayer at a dedication at Antietam, "I beseech Almighty God that this and all similar monuments may teach our children's children lofty lessons of American Patriotism."
In order to create a memorial worthy of the ennobled legions of both North and South, and in the spirit of patriotism during the Civil War, Mr. Casteel will bring together the present day noted historians to formulate the particular battles and or events to be sculpted. Thus, a complete memorial, not an individual marker denoting a regiment or person and telling only a fraction of the whole story, but an overall National Civil War Memorial.
Nationally recognized sculptor Gary Casteel has always been fascinated with history. In the fourth grade, after seeing a picture of Michelangelo's David, Gary knew that sculpting was the profession for him. Before beginning his illustrious career, he apprenticed with professional sculptors from the US and Europe, most notably the Pucci's, a celebrated family of marble carvers from Florence, Italy. With a keen sense of military history, and a rare talent for producing pieces in the Renaissance flavor, many of Mr. Casteel's works have been chosen for inclusion in the collections of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Library and the National Park Service. Best known for his equestrian monument honoring General James Longstreet at Gettysburg National Military Park, he continues to produce fine art bronze figures and memorials, the latest being the Kentucky State Memorial, featuring the figures of Presidents Davis and Lincoln, for the Vicksburg National Military Park. Mr. Casteel continues to receive noted commissions, and, aggressively works with five different national battlefield parks in creating and marketing replicas of the monuments on the battlefields, in an effort to raise funds for preservation of our nation's treasures, the veterans' monuments. As a sculptor and historian, with a lifelong romance of art and dedication to history, Mr. Casteel feels he should and can do nothing less.
Plaques for the NCWM
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