The north side and on the south side of the Ohio Statehouse are bookended by sundials.
Whereas the sundial on the north side of the Statehouse is a tribute to George Washington, the sundial on the south side is dedicated in honor of the Grand Army of the Republic. The simple inscription on the sundial is “Lest We Forget.”
Circumstances quickly gave that inscription a special poignancy. The sundial was presented by the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War on September 14, 1941 — less than three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor hurled America headlong into World War II and required yet another generation of Americans to fight for freedom.
The sundial is anachronistic in this digital era and has turned a pleasant blue green in the decades since its dedication, but its inscription is timeless.
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (VII)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (VI)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (V)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (IV)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (III)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (II)
Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (I)
Yesterday after I finished my Saturday morning work I took a walk around the Ohio Statehouse to look at the various statues, plaques, fountains, and other pieces of public art that are found on the Statehouse grounds. It is an interesting collection. However, it seems to be generally ignored by the Columbus community, perhaps because it is so familiar and so, well, public. It deserves a closer look — which is what I propose to do in this series of posts.
The replica of the sundial at Mount Vernon
The first stop on my tour was the replica of the sundial found at Mount Vernon. The sundial is found on the north side of the Statehouse. The sundial was erected at that location by the Ohio Daughters of the American Revolution in 1932, to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
A plaque at the base of the sundial states that “as time passes, the ideals of Washington reveal new meanings.” (My guess is that this obscure, generic comment on the continued relevance of Washington was the product of weeks of work by a committee.) The statement from Washington that is carved into the marble base of the sundial is a bit more explicit: “The right of a people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey that government.”
The sundial itself includes a compass, the standard sundial face with Roman numerals, and the inscription “Times takes all but memories.” It’s a bit bleak, but comments about time typically are.