Silent Sentinels

Napoleon 12-pound Light Field Cannons.  Vancouver, WA.

Napoleon 12-pound Light Field Cannons. Vancouver, WA.

Memorial Day, 2010. The cannon are located on the west end of Officer’s Row in Vancouver, WA, right across the street from the old military parade ground. Nestled in a parklike setting, they serve as magnets, drawing everyone within eyeshot to the granite memorial that stands behind them. The memorial pays tribute to the four Medal of Honor recipients now at rest in Vancouver Barracks Cemetery.

First Sergeant James M. Hill: 5th U.S. Cavalry, The Indian Campaigns, 1873.

First Sergeant Moses Williams: 9th U.S. Cavalry, The Indian Campaigns, 1876.

First Lieutenant William W. McCammon: 24th Missouri Regiment, Civil War, 1896.

Bugler Herman Pfisterer: 21st Infantry, Spanish-American War, 1899.

The monument was erected in the fall of 1991 and presented to the City of Vancouver on November 8th of that year by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. General Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the dedication ceremony.

“It is a great honor for me to be with you today,” Powell said to those gathered there that day. “The Medal of Honor is the highest tribute America can give to those who put their lives at risk, above and beyond the call of duty.”

The Medal of Honor Monument is located at the corner of East Vancouver Way and Fort Vancouver Way. Though open to the public year-round, a visit here seems especially poignant during Memorial Day weekend. Visitor parking is available just 300 yards away at the O. O. Howard House, 750 Anderson, Vancouver, WA 98661.

For all you military enthusiasts, the Napoleon 12-pound Light Field Cannons that stand as “Silent Sentinels” for the monument are replicas. For a more detailed description of these historic artillery pieces, please check here. They were meticulously recreated by students from the metalworking and woodworking classes of Mountain View High School. (1990-1992 school years) To ensure accuracy, the students consulted drawings that were more than 100 years old.

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2 Responses to Silent Sentinels

  1. Riley says:

    People who like visiting Fort Vancouver will also like visiting DIscovery Park in Seattle. Discovery Park was built on the grounds of Fort Lawton. You can still visit some of the old military buildings and there is also a light house.

  2. Karen Gilb says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll be sure to check it out on my next trip to Seattle.

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