The Honorable William Alexis Stone, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was one of the major dignitaries chosen to celebrate the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Allentown on 19 October 1864. According to The Allentown Leader, Governor Stone said the following to the large crowd:
This is a beautiful day, a grand day. He who would not be satisfied with this day would never be satisfied with anything. This is a great occasion. I thank the people of Lehigh County for inviting me on this day when they repay some of the debt of honor and gratitude they owe the men who bestowed honor on them upon the battlefield. I could not help thinking, while riding from Harrisburg to Allentown, that the prospect was very pleasant to look upon, and I could not help thinking that this is a great year, this a great state and we the greatest people on God’s footstool. Everywhere is the smile of peace and prosperity. I know of nothing to complain of today. You are all happy and contented.
I call your attention to these facts to remind you that if it hadn’t been for the men you honor today, this smiling prospect wouldn’t exist and this monument would not have been erected. There would be no Union, no nation, no Constitution, but simply a handful of sovereign states, with no power to declare war and no force to maintain peace. The men you honor today stood for all that is dear to us. Though the contest was a civil war between the North and South, on it depended the very life of the nation, whether we had the right to protect ourselves and maintain ourselves as a nation.
The recent victories of the war with Spain are only the fruition of the victories of the men you honor today. When that war of only 100 days broke out, we knew we could drive off any Spanish soldiers that might land on our soil, but we didn’t know whether or not our ships could contend with the ships of Spain. The result showed we had a navy that can defy the world.
The wealth and population of this country have more than doubled since the Civil War, and our industries more than trebled; all because we are one people, united and aggressive. We contest every foot of earth’s space for the markets of the world, and industrially American brain and brawn and enterprise will dominate the world. We export more than any other nation on the face of the earth. We are the workshop of the world and we are going to be the garden of the world and the farm of the world. Strong and self-reliant have we become, and no nation wants any difficulty with Uncle Sam.
A Glorious Day: Yesterday’s Monument Unveiling a Great Success: Gov. Stone’s Taking Little Speech: Praise for Dr. Baer’s Oration. Colonel Shaw Grows Eloquent and General Stewart’s Windup Pleases Everybody. Monument Now in Allentown’s Care, in The Allentown Leader. Allentown: 20 October 1889.