News: Portal to the past: Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument honors Civil War veterans
CLEVELAND – The Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands as a majestic portal to the past in downtown Cleveland’s Public Square.
The monument, which contains a mini-museum space at its interior, has extended its hours in honor of Marine Week Cleveland, June 11-17.
Cleveland native Kevin Shaver stopped by the monument for the first time on June 12.
“I’ve known about the memorial for years, but I had never been inside,” said Shaver, his eyes bright with enthusiasm. “Knowing they did not have the technology we have today, the precision in the structure is amazing to see.”
The Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1894, forever immortalizing the lives of more than 9,000 Cuyahoga County military members whom served during the American Civil War.
With a population of approximately 50,000 people during the Civil War, Cuyahoga County contributed nearly 18 percent of its population to the war effort. More than one thousand local service members lost their lives in Civil War combat.
Until recently, a group of service members remained unrecognized.
Currently, the monument lists the names of 23 members of the United States Colored Troops. Seventeen of these men were enlisted African Americans, with the remaining six being Caucasian officers.
Due to the efforts of volunteers with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, 180 names of members of the US Colored Troops are slated for consideration to be added to the architectural jewel, according to Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors monument trustee Jerry L. Young.
So far, 140 of the names have been positively identified for consideration in July, added Young.
Executive director Tim Daley explained the names of the US Colored Troops were not released until 1894, two years after the names had been finalized for inscription.
The confirmation process takes hours of diligent research and verification of names, ages, enlistment dates and completed tour of services.
Tim Daley has been involved with the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument since 2002, and he became the executive director in 2008. He has held an active role in the proposed addition of US Colored Troops members.
“I’ve always enjoyed history,” said Daley. “I’ve been doing historical presentations since 1988. When the opportunity came to help the support group of the monument in 2002, I really began to be involved with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.”
Daley has focused the past 25 years on Civil War research. He believes the war was a defining moment in American history.
“Before the Civil War, people didn’t view themselves as Americans,” said Daley. “After the Civil War, we began to see the emergence of the American ideal.”
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m to 4 p.m., with extended hours to 8 p.m. during Marine Week.
“If we don’t study history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes,” said Daley. “So many people take for granted what we have. They really need to understand the sacrifices of those who went before.”