In this monthly column, Pittsburgh District 1 Councilman Bobby Wilson shares his message for Northsiders.
Photo of Pittsburgh’s City Council Chambers by Ashlee Green
We recently observed an unusual Memorial Day in the Northside. This year, though a few of us came together on this national holiday to remember the brave men and women who gave their all for our country, we had to stay apart to keep each other safe. The rest of us marked this solemn national holiday in our homes, where we shared private reminiscences and paid our respects to all the members of the military we have lost. None of us takes lightly the ultimate sacrifice made by these brave men and women, and Memorial Day gives us the essential time to remember them and honor them. As a first-year City Councilman, I was especially honored to plant flags at the graves of Northside veterans and fallen soldiers in Highwood Cemetery over the long weekend and remember them alongside the Northside Memorial Day Committee at Legion Park in Brighton Heights on Memorial Day.
The monuments in Legion Park are dedicated to Northside residents who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars. The most imposing of these monuments is the towering 25-foot sculpture known as “Sacrifice.” Allen George Newman, who also created the iconic “doughboy” sculpture in Lawrenceville, installed this piece in 1922 to honor World War I veterans from the area. I am happy to announce here that all of the monuments at Legion Park were cleaned this May by a professional conservator thanks to the diligence of the Northside Memorial Day Committee, the City Planning Public Art and Civic Design Division’s restoration program, and funding from my office. The stonework on these monuments was scrubbed with masonry cleaner and biological growth remover. Bases and platforms were gently washed to remove years of dirt and grime. Lettering on plaques was polished, waxed, and sealed to create a sharp contrast against their dark background. All the stone walkway pavers were power-washed and weeded. I invite you to visit Legion Park this summer to take in the restoration of these monuments and remember the veterans who fought to keep us all safe and free today. While I am grateful that so many of you observed social distancing guidelines over Memorial Day Weekend, I am confident that by next Memorial Day, we shall be able to come together at Legion Park to properly remember and honor the many Northside veterans who gave their all in defense of our country.
If you’re looking for more monuments to explore, you can see a complete list of City memorials and works of art on the Public Art and Civic Design Division’s Inventory Map.
In the meantime, please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions, concerns, or stories. You can call my office at (412) 255-2135, email us at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to hearing from all of you.
Stay home, stop the spread, and save lives!