Monday, May 31, 2010

Cape May's Memorial

A great AC Press article for today about war memorials, including the one in Cape May near the Abbey. There will be a service today at the Memorial at 9am. From the article:
Other monuments are in places so well visited and steeped in history that they just get overlooked in comparison. The Columbia Avenue Monument in Cape May is at Columbia Avenue and Gurney Street, a picturesque spot surrounded by bed & breakfasts and passed every few minutes by horse-drawn carts, trolleys and surreys.

"A lot of people do go up there," said Patti Goyette, the innkeeper at Mason Cottage on Columbia Avenue. "They take pictures and look around. ... I think tourists walk up out of curiosity. They're interested, but they don't know what it is."

Longtime Cape May tourists John and Darley Hobbis, of Bloomsburg, Pa., said they have driven by the monument many times but did not know what it was - and Hobbis even trained in the area as a member of the Coast Guard in 1960.

"I think people are so busy looking at the houses and flowers that they miss the memorial," said Missy Hatfield, a part-time Cape May resident.

The monument was built in 1928 by the Cape May post of the Grand Army of the Republic - the Civil War version of the VFW. In a city that once served as a summer playground for the South, the first cause mentioned on the Civil War plaque is to "abolish slavery," and the plaque for the "Great World War" is dedicated so that "the valorous conduct of those who answered the nation's call may outlive all tablets of love and memory."

As more wars took place, more plaques were added - for World War II, Korea, Vietnam. The newest plaque has spaces made available to add wars as they happen, including Afghanistan and "The Gulf Wars." There was room for five more.

"Hopefully," said Hobbis, "they don't have to add anything else on."

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