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Indianapolis: City of Monument

Soldiers' and Sailors' MonumentI was in Indianapolis late last month for the convention of the Society of Professional Journalists (I am the vice president of the Virginia Pro chapter), the first time I’d ever visited the Hoosier capital.

A very nice place. Indianapolis goes by a number of nicknames. Indy. Nap-town. The Crossroads of America. The Circle City.

I’d never heard the last one — it’s based on a downtown circle that has the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the center. It’s 284′ tall and honors Indianans who fought in a number of wars – the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.

Finished in 1901, the monument has four fountains that the locals jump when celebrating something really important, such as V-E Day near the end of World War II or, oh, the Colts winning the Super Bowl.

 It also has a big Civil War museum housed in the basement of the monument.

Richmond styles itself as the City of Monuments, and Monument Avenue is dotted with Civil War heroes – Lee, Jackson, Stuart. Lee went up first, in 1890, and the others were erected about the same general time the Hoosiers were putting up their big monument.

Big difference in Indiana, though – up in Indianapolis, they were celebrating a victory by the home team.

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