Local History and Genealogy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day 1954

Colorful Ceremony on Memorial Day Marked By Band and Parade

Calling for a renewal of the patriotic fervor of earlier days, in a spirited address here last Sunday, Judge Lowell Pefley of the Whitley county circuit court deplored the disinterest in public affairs on the part of the citizenry which fails often to avail itself of even the right to vote.

Judge Pefley spoke at the annual Memorial Day service in Monument Place in Angola Sunday noon. The service was attended by the usual large crowd of interested patriotic citizens.  Preceding the program a parade was  formed several blocks west of the public square and marched to the mound surrounding the imposing Steuben county memorial to the veterans of the war of 1861 to 1865. 
Maurice Whitlock was the parade marshal.  Merritt D Boyer, past commander of Angola Post 31 American Legion served as general chairman, aided by members of the post headed by George C. Myers as commander. The parade including three bands from the Angola schools, patriotic organizations, Angola school children, Boy Scouts, American Legion members, and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Traffic on the two U.S. highways was detoured through Angola during the Memorial observance.

So far as can be ascertained, the custom of decorating symbolic graves on the mound began shortly after the organization for the Grand Army of the Republic Post in Angola, mustered March 29, 1883, and named for Lt, Col Baldwin H Crosswaite of the 44th Indiana Volunteers, who was killed Feb. 18, 1862, at the age of 40.

At first, wooden markers resembling shingles were placed about the mound for Memorial Day observances, these being kept for many years in the GAR headquarters on the public square overlooking the mound.  Following World War I, the American Legion replaced these crude markers with the present day white crosses which are placed in the four segments of the mound early each Memorial Day.  More than 1,200 volunteers went from Steuben county to serve in the Civil War, out of a total population of 10,000, and Steuben county's patriotic record has been sustained throughout the years since Dan Wisel, Steuben county's last surviving Civil War veteran, died at his home in Salem Township Jan 3. 1940 at the age of 102.

Citing the four freedoms of which all should be conscious, Judge Pelfrey said, "And I would, add a fifth freedom, which we also tend to forget and that is the freedom we have as citizens to help our neighbors in time of need, our freedom, as we wish, to help and old lady to cross the street, to help the orphans in Korea, and to help the hungry and the needy wherever we wish, a freedom denied those living under the shadow of Communism, and behind the Iron Curtain, where a man is forced to forget unselfishness and where the atmosphere denies him the right to be generous and to help his neighbors.

Following the posting of the colors, in which units form the Angola American Legion Post participated, the invocation was given by the Rev. Kenneth Hornbuckle, pastor of the Congregational Church.    Following music by the Angola High School Band, directed by Elwood Nichols, flowers were placed about the white crosses by the school children of Angola, Judge Pefley was introduced by Glen S, Beatty, Mayor of Angola, and following hi address a benediction was given by the Rev, Norman Kistler, pastor of the Fairview Missionary Church and the firing squad of the American Legion gave salute to the dead with "Taps" by Roy C, Bodie Jr.

Steuben Republican  June 2, 1954
Pictures property of Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County