Man honors dead with skeleton soliders

November 12, 2009 10:39:07 AM PST
Typical front lawn Halloween displays usually consist of pumpkins, ghosts and eerie music. But in Libertyville, Ill., a man named Waly Lowry has skipped the pumpkins and replaced them with skeleton soldiers. It's sort of a Halloween history lesson.

It's been going on now for 20 years in front of Lowry's home. Every Halloween the skeletons come out from where ever it is they've been hiding. Some of them are your plain old see thru variety -- no clothes at all. But most of them are bones in uniform. Military uniforms that give us a history lesson and it's all because of an authentic Civil War hat.

"I inherited my great grandfather's Civil War hat and, ah, some years back, and I wanted to display it," Lowry said. "I couldn't wear it because it was way too small for me. So I decided to make this army of skeletal creatures for Halloween and it all revolved around the Civil War hat."

Lowry's history lesson goes back to the days of Ben Franklin and then progresses up through all of our nation's conflicts. But you have to wonder: Is this here to bury the military or to praise it?

"It's very pro-military. Ah, pro-America. Ah, it is an homage to the men and women who have served in America for all the years. From the Revolutionary War up until now," Lowry said.

It's all homemade. The wooden tombstones are from a basement workshop. Most of the clothing comes from flea markets, old trunks and military surplus stores.

"It's not the cheesy everyday Halloween. We like the historic fact of it," Lowry said.

Another interesting part of this story is the tombstones and the epithets. They are authentic from the 1700s and 1800s. For instance, one is about a Captain Coffin who was killed in the act of taking a whale. He's not a-catching cod. He's gone to meet his God.

"People died of many causes and so, ah ? they tried to make light of death and so these really strange epithets were prevalent in those times," Lowry said.

Skeleton soldiers -- they have already fought to the death.


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