New monument for Courthouse will honor Woodfill, Smith

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A new monument that will initially honor Major Samuel Woodfill and Lieutenant Eugene Smith has been finishing and erected at the Switzerland County Courthouse, and county officials are now planning the statue’s official dedication.

The monument, which is an obelisk, was delivered on Tuesday and has been placed just west of the Veterans Memorial Monument on the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn.

The obelisk stands approximately 10-feet tall and weighs approximately 6,000 pounds.

A sidewalk will be constructed around the new monument to allow access from the Veterans Memorial to the obelisk.

Currently the monument has veterans on two of its four sides; with the other two sides available to honor county veterans in the future.

Major Samuel Woodfill, who is the only recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor from Indiana during World War I; and Eugene Smith of Patriot, who flew with the famed “Tuskegee Airmen” during World War II, are the first to be honored on the monument.

Major Samuel Woodfill was the only soldier from Indiana to win the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War I. He was also a pall bearer at General John “Black Jack” Pershing’s funeral; and he also served as a pall bearer when the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated shortly after World War I.

In his autobiography, General Pershing called Samuel Woodfill “The greatest soldier who ever served under me.”

Another side honors Eugene Smith, who won the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006 for his service as a part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, who flew during World War II. Eugene Smith is not a native of Switzerland County, but has lived here for approximately 20 years and considers this to be his home.

The idea to create the monument originated with County Council members Mike Jones and Tom Conroy.

After exploring several ideas, the county council agreed to help fund the project, and once that was secure, the local American Legion and VFW chapters were approached about supporting the project.

The thought was initially that a dedication would be planned for early December of last year; but winter weather and other issues delayed the dedication until now.

Tom Conroy said that there has not been an official date set yet for the dedication, but officials will be looking at dates in the near future in order to get the program done as quickly as possible.

“We want to do this right,” Tom Conroy said as he saw the monument be hoisted into place on Tuesday. “It’s important to the county and to our veterans that this dedication is done in the proper way.

Searcy Monuments of Carrollton, Kentucky, constructed and installed the monument.