Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'Breathing on Dry Bones': Iowa county, descendants dedicate Littleton monument

(All photos courtesy of Will Thomson)

Will Thomson, designer of a monument that honors the six Littleton brothers of Iowa who served and died during the Civil War, wrote the following about the dedication on Tuesday afternoon. We thank him for the contribution.

The dedication of the Littleton Bothers Monument took place at Toolesboro, Iowa, yesterday, June 14, at 4 pm under sunny skies with Gov. Terry Branstad and about 250 guests in attendance. Company A, 49th Reg. Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry -- “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles” provided color guard and flag ceremony and Ms. Elaine Pacha played “To the Colors” and Taps during the ceremonies.

The Wapello High School band performed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” Gov. Branstad spoke and the keynote address was given by Dr. Tom Morain, history professor at Graceland University.  The “Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles” presented award certificates to Project Chair Tom Woodruff and Ed Bayne, who together had rediscovered the tragic history of this Iowa family’s sacrifice to freedom.

Almost two dozen Littleton family descendants (above) were present at the ceremony, and (historian) John Busbee served as master of ceremonies.  A reception followed at the Wapello site of the Louisa County Historical Museum.

The ceremony itself was an admixture of pride, celebration and somber contemplation. The assembled guests and speakers were at various points choked up by the emotions of the day, and much reference was made to the rediscovery of the story and the acknowledgment of the saga of the bravery and loyalty of the brothers for a cause that still resonates today. Dr. Morain’s speech was entitled “Breathing on Dry Bones,” a reference to the valley of dry bones seen to be restored to life in the Book of Ezekiel.

Gov. Terry Branstad with color guard member

Over 202 individuals and businesses contributed to create the 32,000-pound monument, which is surrounded by a hexagonal plaza and ringed by six new oak trees, one for each brother named and marked with a large granite stone.

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