Honoring Those Who Served

Not far outside Bloomington, Indiana, is a small country cemetery.  Like many of the cemeteries in Indiana, the stone carvers’ unique work can be found on the gravestones.  The Mt. Ebal Cemetery has two such stones marking the graves of two soldiers—one who fought in the Civil War and one who fought in World War I.

SARAH ANN

MEADOWS

JULY 6, 1846

SEPT. 14, 1930

 

WILLIAM M.

MEADOWS

OCT. 20, 1844

MAY 17, 1943

CO. B. IND VOL INF.

The William Meadows gravestone has an inset with a bas-relief of a Union soldier carved into it.  Even without knowing what war Meadows fought in the skill and detail of the stone carver makes it clear that it was the Civil War.  Meadows stands as if he is ready to march into battle, clutching his Springfield rifle, bayonet hanging from his belt, and his Haversack and bed roll on his back.  Meadows died just five months short of his 99th birthday and the one memory he wished to preserve for all to know and see was his service to his country—carved into his gravestone as an image and recording the unit in which he served.

JAMES A.

BUTCHER

BORN 1889

DIED 1938

FIRST DIV.

16th INF.

The bas-relief carving of the World War I soldier on the front of the gravestone most likely represents James Butcher himself.  In the sculpture, the solider appears to be marching forward possibly through water that is splashing up on both sides of him.  He is wearing the uniform of the day—steel helmet with chin strap, the brown woolen uniform with the knee breeches and carrying a rifle with the bayonet attached.  Peaking up from his shoulders is the rolled up anti-gas cape and loosely hanging around his neck is a respirator made necessary by the gas that was used during WW I.  The determined look on his face expresses a soldier ready to take the fight to the enemy.

On this day, we give thanks to all those soldiers who served and protected America and most especially to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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2 Responses to Honoring Those Who Served

  1. gsb03632 says:

    Thank you for this! I’d bet the same cutter did both figures because of the closeness in time and the similar level of detail in the two figures. They really are astonishing for only being what, 10 inches tall?

    The cutter was feeling his oats the day he did the doughboy. Not just for the fierce expression you rightly emphasize, but also for the fantastic, aggressive way the cutter breaks both the frame and the background to give the rifle a three-dimensional quality.

    Your work over many years is a testament to the fact that there is no cemetery not worth visiting. I appreciate all the work you’ve done for us.

    • I agree with you about the stone cutter breaking the frame to give the sculpture more of a three dimensional look. It reminds of when an actor breaks the fourth wall–it is daring and unusual. Here in this sculpture, the carver breaks the inset to allow the rifle more room.

      Thank you for your kind comments.

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