Memorial Day “Decoration” Ceremony Honors Soldiers From All Eras at Laurel Hill Cemetery
On Sunday, May 28, Laurel Hill Cemetery held their Decoration Day Parade, an annual Memorial Day tradition which invites people of all ages to come and honor both fallen and active soldiers from all eras.
First held in 1868, the service recreates the historic Memorial Day observance act of having participants adorn the graves of fallen soldiers with wreaths. Civil War General George Meade’s gravesite is paid special attention on this day at Laurel Hill.
Meade is considered by many to be a “hero” of the Battle of Gettysburg. Among his other titles and contributions, Meade is notably the designer of Fairmount Park.
Veterans, Civil War reenactors, children and adults all marched their way throughout the cemetery towards General Meade’s grave to place wreaths, continuing the “decoration” tradition. Multiple speakers noted Meade’s importance as well as the significance of memorializing late soldiers.
Afterwards, the march lead to a gravesite to recognize newly marked graves throughout the cemetery. The graves were able to be identified through the research of an eighth grade student at Abington Friends School.
In preparation for the event, Michael Wunsch, the Corresponding Secretary of the General Meade Society of Philadelphia, told Spirit News the Meade Society and other groups placed flags on an estimated 700-800 graves of veterans. Today, Wunsch was pleased to see younger generations gathering for the tradition to pay homage of soldiers of all eras.
“[The service] brings to light and memory what memorial day is all about – remembering the fallen soldier, remembering those in service today and commemorating their service to the country,” Wunsch said.