Before a large audience at the Crawford House, guest speaker David McTamaney, a veteran support advocate and once a combat photographer in Vietnam, declared, “It is not a memorial to war. It’s a memorial to those who’ve died at war!” An image of the Orange County Veterans Memorial at the corner of Liberty Street and Leroy Place was projected onto a modest sized screen over his shoulder. The speaker's podium and microphone on the opposite side of the projector screen seemed unnecessary to the former English and Latin teacher who spent his career speaking before high school students. His notes were memorized and David had no issue projecting his voice over an audience that filled the double parlor.
Newburgh is a monumental city. The Newburgh Historical Society welcomes members and guests on Sunday, April 3 for an opening day that will include a slide presentation entitled “Monumental Newburgh.” Starting at 2 p.m., a panel led by Society member Tom Knieser will showcase the many beautiful sculptures and memorials installed in the city. There is a story behind the motivation and creation of each public monument. “In the years we traveled with our kids to various cities, the outdoor sculptures became a part of the memory,” Knieser reflected on how he came to appreciate the topic. There are two dozen examples scattered throughout the City of Newburgh, which have become lasting elements of the city’s landscape offering unique lenses into a local heritage.
Monuments, sculptures and public art appear in many towns and villages both large and small. They pay tribute to heroes of war, first responders and historic figures. In some cases they are simply works of art for public enjoyment. In working on various projects for the Newburgh Historic Society we’ve noticed many of these monuments and sculptures in the city and vicinity and thought they would make an interesting presentation. As the project progressed we counted at least two dozen such items and wanted to know more about their origin, who the artists were and where they were made. The results were astonishing.