|During Phase I of Project New Leaf, the “Lion of Cantigny” statue outside the Cantigny Visitors Center took a sky ride, hanging from a cable en route to a new location as part of the front plaza renovation. According to plan, the sculpture landed safely about 20 feet west of its previous position.
Hoisting the doughboy was a delicate operation, with great care taken not to damage the bronze icon.
In July, the process repeated itself when the “Spirit of Commitment” sculpture in the former Cantigny prairie, near the Education Center, relocated to a secluded space near the First Division Museum. The move, necessitated by Phase II Prairie View construction, required even more logistical know-how and strategy due to the statue’s weight and transport needs.
The “Spirit of Commitment,” including its concrete base, weighs about 10 tons—four times more than the doughboy–and needed to travel about a quarter-mile via flatbed trailer over uneven surfaces. Gatwood Crane Service and Tom’s Hauling & Excavating were called in for the job, assisted by a crew from Damgaard Landscaping.
The team’s measured execution was flawless, accomplished in one morning. Hours devoted to planning and site preparation far exceeded the move itself.
“Spirit of Commitment,” sculpted by Jeff Adams, arrived at Cantigny in 2007. It depicts the interrelationships of four people, both individually and within the context of the community. Two of the figures are military, a WWI soldier and a soldier from the “new millennium” helping him up.
Upon the statue’s dedication, former McCormick Foundation CEO David Grange expressed hope that Cantigny visitors are reminded of how individual commitments to service, whether on the front lines or in local volunteer roles, serve the greater good.
Landscaping and seating around the newly located “Spirit of Commitment” are still to come, along with a thorough cleaning. The statue remains off limits to Cantigny visitors but can be seen just east of the First Division Museum, on the site of a former staff parking lot.