General Thomas Stewart, Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was one of the dignitaries chosen to celebrate the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Allentown on 19 October 1864. According to The Allentown Leader, General Stewart said the following to the large crowd:
This is a magnificent monument from a patriotic people to their patriotism and to their soldiers living and dead. It is nearly 40 years since the First Defenders went out, and the Grand Army of the Republic is now marching in the shadow that gathers so beautifully in the evening of its existence. But it is full of memories of deeds which are the most glorious in history. The soldiers honored by that monument did more than all other armies in history prior to them. They fought for liberty and won. Greater work has neither man nor army done.
Now the flag which those soldiers saved has been carried across the seas, the naked have been clothed, the hungry fed, and a light carried into the night of terror.
That monument is a tribute to the soldiers of Lehigh County who fell at Cedar Creek, and Gettysburg and Chancellorsville and every other battlefield. They never heard the cheer at Appomattox, their bones are dust and their swords are rust. But their monument is a message to those who died that the country might exist. The thunders will roll over it, it will be glorified by the summer sun, and beautified by winter snow, and around it, in years to come, others will gather to exult over the greatness of the country made possible by the sacrifices of heroes it honors. Let us honor the dead soldiers of the republic, and honor those who yet remain, those who fought for the uplifting of the human race and the maintenance of God’s Kingdom on earth.
1. 33rd Annual National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic: Programme for the Week. Philadelphia: 4-9 September 1899.
2. A Glorious Day: Yesterday’s Monument Unveiling a Great Success: Gov. Stone’s Taking Little Speech: Praise for Dr. Baer’s Oration. Colonel Shaw Grows Eloquent and General Stewart’s Windup Pleases Everybody. Monument Now in Allentown’s Care, in The Allentown Leader. Allentown: 20 October 1889.