The work of Hobart alum Pietro del Fabro ’67 recently became a permanent part of the Village of Waterloo, the birthplace of Memorial Day. To commemorate the lives lost by both the North and South in the Civil War, del Fabro, of Princeton Junction, N.J., constructed the American Civil War Memorial out of stones sent from the 36 states that existed at the end of the Civil War. The memorial includes individual commemorative plaques for each man from Waterloo who died in the Civil War as well as one that commemorates all women who served during the war and one recognizing all lives lost.
“Each of the stones tells its own story,” says del Fabro, “which then come together and express the greater story of the war.”
The memorial is located on Lock Island along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, a tributary of the Erie Canal System. Visitors enter through two purposefully uneven stone pillars which represent, along with the stone wall, the changed state of the post-war United States.
Last autumn, as he helped community members etch small stars into a particular marble cenotaph, del Fabro explained that “the central feature of the memorial is this star stone, which is enclosed by cedar trees and a stone portal.”
In total, there are 620 stars, each representing 1,000 fallen soldiers in the Civil War. The stars have been gilt with 22 karat gold. An upright stone stands on the western tip of the island to mark the site for those traveling by water. An eternal flame burns near the portal. The Memorial has a flagpole carrying the United States flag of 1865. The flag, star stone and trees are illuminated at night.
del Fabro, a history major during his days at the Colleges, said, “I initially became interested in U.S. history and the Civil War during a U.S. history course with Professor Crouthamel,” referring to Professor Emeritus of History James Crouthamel, who retired in 1996 and passed away in 2003.
del Fabro has received public commissions including the West Windsor, N.J. Veterans’ Monument; limestone and marble altar and cont, mosaics and oil paintings at St. David the King Church in Princeton Junction, N.J.; and marble font and altars and triptych at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors S.C. He received an award from the National Art Honors Society in 1993. His studio, Pietro Designs, is online at www.pietrodesigns.com.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, referring to the practice of decorating Civil War soldiers’ tombs with bouquets of lilacs. In 1966, a resolution by the United States Congress and a proclamation by President Lyndon Johnson recognized Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day. The American Civil War Memorial, scheduled for dedication on September 20, 2008, honors the fallen of the first Memorial Day, May 5, 1866.
For more information about the Memorial, visit www.americancivilwarmemorial.com.