by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott
Civil War Veteran John P. Leedy 1844-1887
For many years I have coordinated with the local American Legion Post and the Boy Scouts to place flags on the graves of veterans in our local cemeteries. We are a small town, but now have over 700 veterans on our lists. These veterans served in conflicts ranging from the War of 1812 to more recent conflicts.
One cemetery I save to do by myself. Located in the rural part of our county, Stanton Friends Cemetery, was founded by the Society of Friends or the Quakers. There was a Friends Church that met on the site from approximately 1870 – 1915. As this part of the state of Illinois was opening to settlement, those of the Quaker faith were migrating to this area to take advantage of the productive farmland.
The Quaker Church building is gone and those of the who practiced the Quaker religion also have no local presence. My research shows that the church was dwindling in numbers, and the membership decided to close. I have numerous ancestors buried in this cemetery, including two sets of great-g-g Grandparents. This part of my family were Quakers and were very influential in the Society of Friends in this part of the US.
There are 35 Veterans currently buried in Stanton. They served in the Civil War, WW I, WW II, Korea and Vietnam. Some of the older stones are becoming harder to read, so I have a list with a map to ensure that I can find them each year. Because of my family connection, I make sure that each Memorial Day weekend, the graves of the veterans in this cemetery have a flag placed by their marker, to ensure they are not forgotten.
As I place each flag, I say the name of the veteran. Having done this for several years, these seem like old friends that I become re-acquainted with each spring. By saying the name of veteran, they, for a moment are still alive. Their service and sacrifice are not forgotten. It is an easy way for those of us in the present to connect with and be grateful for those of the past.
This Memorial Day take a moment and say the name of a Veteran who is not longer with us, perhaps they paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. By saying their name, they are not forgotten.
WB Gregory J. Knott is the Worshipful Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 in Ogden (IL) and a plural member of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.
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