Fund-raising for Md. monument at Gettysburg nearing goal

November 08, 1993|By Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS -- James A. Holechek is a $40,000 optimist.

More than four years ago, Mr. Holechek began a project to build a monument to Marylanders who fought at Gettysburg during the Civil War.

Even though he is still $40,000 shy of the needed $170,000, next week Mr. Holechek and other planners are setting up a committee for the dedication ceremony, tentatively planned for Oct. 2, 1995.

Mr. Holechek, a retired public relations man from Baltimore County, formed Citizens for a Maryland Monument at Gettysburg after a visit to the historic southern Pennsylvania battlefield.

"I couldn't believe that after 130 years, Maryland was the only one of the 29 states that fought there" without a monument, he said.

The Maryland monument is to be built in the Gettysburg National Military Park, not far from Culp's Hill, where much of the fighting took place during the three-day battle in July 1863.

The project has appealed to a wide variety of people, Mr. Holechek said. Supporters range from Carroll County's Robert F. Harden, who, though sometimes unemployed, estimates he has donated about $30, to a group of 35 executives who donated $1,000 apiece at a breakfast benefit held by Gov. William Donald Schaefer last month.

"Sure, a corporate head can give $5,000. Sometimes it's not even his money, but . . . to a person that's unemployed, giving a dollar is something," Mr. Holechek said.

The state of Maryland has pledged $75,000.

The statue design, which was chosen out of 83 entries, shows two wounded soldiers, one from the Union and one from the Confederacy.

The 9-foot figures lean on each other, as if for support.

The sculptor, Lawrence M. Ludtke of Houston, said he wanted to emphasize the equality of the two men.

"What I'm trying to do is let neither one of them show dominance over the other," the artist said. "I have kept them basically in the same plane, and symbolically placed them shoulder to shoulder."

L The soldiers are purposely without weapons, Mr. Ludtke said.

"They're through with war, they just want to get on with the healing process."

Mr. Ludtke's work "is highly emotional and represents the

problems Maryland has as a border state," Mr. Holechek said.

Mr. Holechek said one of the reasons Maryland may not have had a monument is the state's politically and emotionally charged location between the Union and Confederacy.

"It was probably too painful and too sensitive and too emotional 130 years ago," he said.

Groups representing both the southern and northern sides in the battle have endorsed the monument, Mr. Holechek said.

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