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by Lynne Bellusico

A couple of days before

the Oatka Festival, I was told

that the firemen had installed

a light to shine on the Soldier’s

Monument on Trigon Park. I

had hoped to get an article in

the Pennysaver, but the time got

ahead of me. They told me that

the light was installed in memo-

ry of George Cory. I suspect that

some of you remember George.

He was an electrician in LeRoy.

He installed the electrical boxes

on Trigon Park when more elec-

tricity was needed for the food

booths for the Oatka Festival.

He was our electrician at LeRoy

House for many years. I remem-

ber the day I pulled out some

very old light bulbs to show him.

With a funny grin on his face, he

said, “Let’s try them.” “Isn’t that

dangerous?” “No, not at all,”

and he screwed the old bulb into

the socket and turned the switch.

Sure enough, the light bulb was

bright, and I can still see his face

when the coils lit up. He was just

like a kid, fascinated with that

light bulb.

George was a proud member

of the LeRoy Excelsior Hook

and Ladder Company. He had

served as their President. He

also served as the Fire Police

Captain, and was always first to

a fire to set up the safety line.

I remember him in his crisp

white firemen’s shirt, usually di-

recting traffic during the Oatka

Festival. George always wanted

George Cory’s Light

to put lights on the Soldier’s

Monument. But he never had the

chance and George died in 2003.

But the members of the Excel-

sior Hook and Ladder Company

remembered George’s plans for

the monument and thought there

was no better way to remember

George than to install the lights.

George’s wife, Jane, thought it

was a wonderful idea, so on Fri-

day night, July 16, the firemen

gathered with Mrs. Cory and

George’s son, to officially turn

on the lights. This fall as it gets

darker earlier in the evening,

it’s easy to see how wonderful

the Soldier’s Monument looks.

I know George is smiling.

The Soldiers’ Monument was

finally completed in May, 1906

after many years of planning.

Although it commemorates

soldiers from the Revolution

and the War of 1812, it was pri-

marily a project initiated by the

members of the Grand Army of

the Republic, to commemorate

those who had served in the War

of the Rebellion, known today as

the Civil War. In fact if you read

the bronze plaque for the Civil

War veterans, it is labeled “War

of Rebellion.”

The Union soldier is made of

bronze and was designed by Ru-

dolph Schwartz. He is 7 feet tall

and stands on a 13 foot plinth

of Barre granite. The granite

is carved with crossed swords

and a laurel wreath. Each cor-

ner has a carved canon. On the

west side is a canon and palm

branch. The east side had a bugle

and oak wreath. The south side

has a musket and canteen and

cartridge box.

As I was reading about the

ceremony in 1906, I thought

it was appropriate for George

Cory, that on the day that the

statue was dedicated, the Excel-

sior Hook and Ladder Company

was in attendance and they had

invited the members of the Atti-

ca Hooks to be their guests. The

firemen – many who had served

in the Civil War, were part of the

10,000 people who assembled in

LeRoy that day.

Like many things that we

take for granted in our busy

lives, it is easy to overlook the

landmarks that are unique to

our community. Not just on Me-

morial Day, with the speeches

and the gun salute, but every

day, let this monument remind

us of those who have fought

and preserved our liberty and

the American way of life. And

thank you to the Hook and

Ladder Company, for making

this happen.