The centennial of Andrew Carnegie’s passing was commemorated by ceremonial wreath-layings on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean in the town of his birth and at Carnegie’s burial site. Held on Sunday, August 11, in Carnegie’s hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland, and organized by the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, the first memorial took place in Pittencrieff Park, a 76-acre park that Carnegie was banned from as a child but later purchased in 1902 and gifted to the people of Dunfermline.
After a piper led a procession down High Street and through the ornate gates named for Carnegie’s wife, Louise, about 75 people gathered in front of the park’s nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Andrew Carnegie. Led by Carnegie Dunfermline Trust Chairman Ian Wilson and trustees, the attendees included many representatives from the international family of Carnegie institutions. “We meet in a place that was of huge significance to Andrew Carnegie, for from childhood, in his mind, Pittencrieff Park was the image of paradise,” said Rev. MaryAnne Rennie, the minister of the Abbey Church of Dunfermline.
“His purchase of the park in 1902 and gifting it to bring ‘sweetness and light’ to the people of Dunfermline ensured that every child would be able to have more than ‘a peep’ at what lay behind the walls. Those who are here recognize that Carnegie’s passion for people was not limited to Dunfermline,” she said, citing the philanthropist’s local and worldwide legacy.
The sky was overcast, but the rain held off until after all six wreaths were laid at the base of the statue. Carnegie’s great-grandson, William Thomson, and Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian were among those laying wreaths.
A month later across the Atlantic, Gregorian presided over a second wreath-laying at Carnegie’s grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, located along the Hudson River just north of New York City. Staff and trustees of Carnegie Corporation of New York attended the graveside memorial service on Friday, September 13.
“We thank you very much for your generosity, for your vision, and for your humanity,” Gregorian said, addressing the philanthropist’s tombstone, in a moving tribute. “We try to do justice to your vision and your legacy. We are fully aware that we are guardians of your legacy and your mission.”