The Eagle has landed, on the Morristown Green

The Eagle has landed! Restored to its rightful perch on the Morristown Green, June 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Marion Filler

After a three-year absence, the Eagle has landed.

A storm dislodged it from its perch atop the flagpole on the Morristown Green. Now, newly restored and resplendent in gold leaf, the statuette has come home.

It was welcomed back on a warm summer evening last week, hosted by Alice Cutler, president of the Trustees of the Morristown Green, and Ryan Dawson of Weichert Realtors.

The event was heralded by members of the Rory O’Moore School of Pipes & Drums, who arrived before the ceremonies with an exciting entrance through the center of the throng.

Rory O’Moore’s pipes and drums herald Eagle’s return to the Green. Video by Marion Filler for MorristownGreen.com:

“It all started at the Grand Café one night. That’s where everything starts,” said Dawson, before the formalities began.

The Eagle after its restoration on the Green, June 23, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“Alice came over to me and said it was such a shame that the Eagle has been in the closet for so long. There’s got to be something we can do.”

That “something” turned out to be the Eagle Restoration Project, supported by donations from organizations across Morristown.

Representatives from each group were present to receive a citation from Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-25th Dist.).

They included the Trustees of the Green, the Morristown Partnership, the St. Patrick’s Parade of Morris County, the Morristown Rotary, the Washington Association of New Jersey, Knights of Columbus George Washington Council #359, and the Jockey Hollow Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution.

Ryan Dawson, left, and Alice Cutler at ceremony for the Eagle on the Green, June 26, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler

“I’m 50 percent of the Restoration committee and here’s the other 50 percent,” Dawson said, introducing Cutler.

Cutler reminded onlookers that “if Benjamin Franklin had his way, we would be celebrating the return of the Wild Turkey to the flagpole.”

She commended the decision to use the same Eagle that fell from its lofty perch, instead of buying a replacement.

“For well over 225 years there has been a flagpole on the Green. It was referred to as the Liberty Pole in the 18th and 19th centuries,” Cutler said.

During that time, the park was a rallying point for political activity. Cutler asked the audience to “just imagine the history that has taken place right here.”

Queenella Gibson-Delphin performed at Eagle ceremony, June 26, 2019. Photo by Marion Filler.

According to the Gates Flag & Banner Company, the Clifton company that restored the Eagle, it is about 40 years old and likely was installed during the 1980 renovation of the Green.

Though not the original version dating to the Revolution, its relevance to Morristown seems as meaningful now as ever.

Morristown clergy turned out in force to bless the Eagle. They included the Rev. Linda Gaden of the Presbyterian Church of Morristown, Rabbi Michael Satz of Temple B’Nai Or, Rabbi David Nesson of the Morristown Jewish Center, and Monsignor John E. Hart of Assumption Church.

Queenella’s soaring anthem. Video by Marion Filler for MorristownGreen.com:

Rousing versions of the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America were sung by Queenella Gibson-Delphin, whose voice has been heard at the Apollo theater in NYC.

The ceremony concluded with the Rory O’Moore pipers accompanying donors and guests, playing the entire way, to a reception at the Knights of Columbus on South Street.

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