Saturday, June 03, 2006

Monument to the ForeFathers

The National Monument to the ForeFathers

...copied in later years by "The Statue of Liberty" makers

Remember in my previous post on our trip to Plymouth, MA, where I mentioned the "National Monument to the Forefathers" was too outstanding not to blog about it on its own? I meant that, truly I did.

Mayflower passenger list noted here

In 1820, the Pilgrim society conceived the idea to build a monument, though some thirty years later, the whole plan finally began to come into fruition. It was erected and complete August 1, 1889 (can we even fathom this year ourselves? It was so very long ago!)

The monument is colossal! Massive really! Built of granite, it stands 81 feet high from top to bottom.

The carvings, assorted smaller statues all have meaning, and was creatively detailed to the point of leaving all those on our trolley tour in complete awe, while able to walk about and circle its base to view up close and personal, read, ponder awhile, and feel the incredible depth of its meanings. The woman at the very top was actually copied by the builders of the "Statue of Liberty", though rather than symbolizing her as "Faith" with finger pointed to the sky thanking God for the safe journey, and Bible in hand, we all know the Liberty lady has a torch instead and crown on her head.
Think about that!

Doesn't all this history stuff leave you with a case of goosebumps?

Read the incredible explanations of each symbol and the information below on this monument.

Here are more details about the monument, read on, you'll be simply fascinated, and THEN, imagine being at its base and looking up at it as we were able! We'll never forget it!

The monument is colossal in size, a fitting tribute to our forefathers. Solid granite, it stands 81 feet tall from its base to its top. The central figure of Faith is 180 tons and stands 36 feet tall atop a 45-foot pedestal. The circumference of the head at her forehead is nearly 14 feet, and her uplifted finger is over two feet long.

To get the most out of your visit, you might want to begin by reading the principal dedication on the monument. Additionally, two other tablets list the names of the passengers on the Mayflower along with their principal benefactor, Robert Cushman.

The figures on the monument are intended to be read from top to bottom, beginning with the personification of Faith who symbolizes the virtue which inspired the Pilgrim's journey to the New World.

The four bas-relief scenes of the Pilgrims' history are meant to illustrate how these ideals were transferred to the New World. It is a large, classically-draped female standing with one foot on Plymouth Rock. She is holding an open Bible in her left hand while her right hand is uplifted to heaven. Standing on her pedestal, she looks downward as if to those she is addressing, seeming to call them to trust in a higher power."

The central figure is surrounded by four ancillary figures (Morality, Education, Law, and Liberty), seated on diagonal buttresses, each weighing 20 to 25 tons and standing approximately 15 feet in height. They are meant to represent "the principles upon which the Pilgrim Fathers proposed to found their Commonwealth" and they illustrate how these ideals were transferred to the new world. Smaller figures on the sides of each ancillary figure are meant to amplify the message of the primary figures.

Morality is a woman holding a book inscribed "GOD" in her left hand and the scroll of Revelation in her right. On one side of the throne is the Prophet Moses holding the tablets of the Law and looking toward heaven; and on the other side is an Evangelist writing in a book).

Education is a draped woman pointing to a book in her lap. The small figures in the niches to the right and left of her chair represent Wisdom and Youth .

Law is portrayed as a draped male also holding a book. His chair is supported by Justice (a woman with scales and sword) and Mercy.

Liberty is a helmeted male, draped with a lion's skin, cradling a sword in his right arm and holding a broken chain in his left. The figures in niches on the sides of his chair represent Peace (a woman holding a horn containing food and drink) and Tyranny (a king laid low). These are meant to symbolize peace resting under the protection of liberty, tyranny having been overthrown by its power.

The National Monument is within easy walking distance from Plymouth Rock and Pilgrim Hall. If you prefer to drive, there is plenty of parking beside the monument