With the support of a generouse donation from the family of Robert A. McDonald ('75), The U.S. Military Academy at West Point finally unveiled a statue of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, one of its most famous graduates, who led the Union to victory in the Civil War.
It was unveiled on Thursday, April 25th, by the 18th president's great-great grandson, Ulysses Grant Dietz, an art curator at the Newark Museum in New Jersey. The statue, by sculptor Paula Slater, presents a hatless Grant in his four-star general's uniform.
The 7.5-foot statue of Grant, who stood about 5-foot-8 in life, was made possible by what West Point described as a "generous donation" from the family of Robert A. McDonald, class of 1975, a former Department of Veterans Affairs secretary.
The unveiling marks the sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, of Grant's inauguration as the 18th president. He served two turbulent terms during the "Reconstruction" era, West Point said in a news release.
Statues of three other generals and West Point graduates -- Dwight Eisenhower (class of 1915), Douglas MacArthur (1903) and George Patton (1909) -- are already in place on the academy's grounds, but plans for one of Grant did not get underway until the House Armed Services Committee recommended it to the Army in 2016, according to the release.
Grant, from West Point's class of 1843, fought in the Mexican-American War and later led the Army of the Potomac in the bloody campaign through Virginia that resulted in the surrender of Confederate forces by Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Grant, whose initials led to the nickname "Unconditional Surrender," "embodied the West Point motto of Duty, Honor, Country," Col. Ty Seidule, head of West Point's History Department, said in the announcement.
"As a soldier, he led an army that emancipated four million people, ended slavery, and saved the United States of America," Seidule said. "The Grant statue will inspire generations of cadets to become leaders of principle and integrity for the nation."
Grant died in 1885. The General Grant National Memorial, or Grant's tomb, in Riverside Park on Manhattan's Upper West Side, is considered the largest mausoleum in North America.