The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grateful for Your Service in Flanders and Other Fields

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

How many of us had to memorize "In Flanders Fields," the WWI poem by Canadian poet, physician and solider John McCrae?  I believe it was in the 7th grade when I learned it, and I still know it to this day.  It gives me pause when I think about the words of that poem, because war never seems to really solve anything, and soldiers die for ideas, ideals, ideology.  Kind of a hollow victory in the long run, because some hearts cease to beat, while others left at home break.  But I am truly appreciative of those who stepped forward over the years and defended our country.  To those who came home and died during peacetime, thank you and thank God.  And to those who died during war, know that we will never "break faith" with you---thank you for the greatest sacrifice.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.
---John McCrae

A Resident of Flanders Field, memorialized here, Rosedale Cemetery, Montclair, NJ

Yes, that is my father posing with a gun at Evergreen Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA.  Pop served in the Navy during 'Nam. 

A Confederate casualty at Sharpsburg/Antietam.  "A Martyr to the Southern Cause."  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Pearson was in the 153rd PA, in the same regiment as my g-g-g-grandfather John Koken.  Greenwood Cemetery, Howertown, PA

John Buffington was a Union Lt. who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action at Petersburg, VA in 1865, as he was the first enlisted man in his division to mount the parapet of the enemy's line.  Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Taneytown, MD

Capt. Henry Biddle of the Pennsylvania Reserves was mortally wounded at the Battle of New Market Cross Roads and died in Richmond, VA in 1862.  Also known as the Battle of Glendale, part of the Seven Days Retreat.  Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Pvt. Francis Veasey, who died from wounds sustained during the First Division's Soissons offensive (near the Marne).  Veasey was one of 8,365 men who died or were wounded in this offensive.  Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Flags, Guns and Fixed Bayonets, Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

"Soldier of the war of 1776, enlisted under Washington as he passed through Taneytown."  Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Taneytown, MD

A war not talked much about, being the only one where the US invaded a country because it wanted some of its territory.  Manifest destiny at its lowest.  St. Mathew's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

David Myers, captured at the Battle of the Wilderness, died at Andersonville [Prison], aged 25 years, 8 months and 23 days. At the bottom, it says "A dutiful son and a true soldier."  Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

A Confederate soldier who survived the war, Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Major John Knott, Confederate cavalry who was killed at High Bridge Battlefield, VA, while leading  a charge of his regiment, aged 31.  "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble."  ---Book of Job  Also "The voice in battle came, He started forth to hear, A mortal pierced his frame, He fell, but felt no fear."  (poetic license on James Montgomery)  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Confederate soldier Henry Snyder died age 28 in 1864.  His widow Mary Virginia lived for 45 years without him.  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Henry Loyns was part of the Stonewall Brigade.  It is highly possible that he came out of the woods at Chancellorsville and ambushed Grandpa Koken, causing Koken and companies to run in the opposite direction.  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

I forget sometimes that they have been around since 1790.  St. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Perth Amboy, NJ

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Another resident of Flanders Field, memorialized here with his parents.  Glenwood Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ
Grand Army of the Republic fraternal member (tho he was in the Navy), Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ
Another member of PA 153rd, Lower Saucon Christ Lutheran Cemetery, Hellertown, NJ

Symbol in zinc, Paupack Cemetery, Paupack, PA

GAR Civil War Veteran's marker, Lower Saucon Christ Lutheran Cemetery, Hellertown, PA
The 2nd GAR post organized in the US, Mount Hope Odd Fellows Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

A Comrade of George H. Thomas GAR Post, No. 5, Chicago, IL.  Major General George Thomas was the "Rock of Chickamauga," and his defense there saved the Union Army from being completely routed.  He was a Virginian but stayed with the Union.  He is buried in Troy, NY.  Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

U.S.G.P. stands for Ulysses S. Grant Post.  Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

GAR Kearney Post 55, William Penn Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
Glenwood Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ

GAR Post #8 in US, Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

A member of GAR Post 18, Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Zinc representation of GAR symbol, Union Cemetery, Blakley, PA

West Long Branch United Methodist Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ

Ladies Auxiliary of United Spanish War Veterans, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Zeilin was a Marine, "Into thy hands, I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord."  Zeilin's father Jacob was the 7th Commandant of the Marine Corps (highest ranking officer in corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff).  Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

When they thought WWI was the only World War....Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis, NY

1st Lt. G.M. Harris died age 27 of wounds received in an engagement with the Modoc Indians at the Lava Beds in California in 1873.  The Modocs killed many emigrants using the Oregon Trail, and the US govt forced the Modocs onto a reservation with the Klamath tribe.  There was not enough food on the reservation and the Modocs left to reclaim their lands in Oregon and Calif.  In Nov. 1872, the US Army was sent to force them back, and the Modoc escaped to what is now the Lava Beds National Monument.  A band of about 50 warriors held off 3,000 Army troops for several months.  In June 1873, the Modocs gave themselves up.  The US govt executed some of the Modoc leaders and sent the rest to Indian lands in Oklahoma.   Later, they were given permission to return to their own lands in Oregon.  Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Sheldon was a member of the 9th GAR post, Lynn Cemetery, Lynn, PA

Another naive marker, the only world war, Maple Grove Cemetery, Pleasant Mount, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Memorial to Frederick Schlicher, died in France.  I wonder if he is buried here?  New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA

St. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Perth Amboy, NJ

I am not sure if this is the grave of a military musician or a civilian one.  Isaac S. Gerhard was born about 1842, died 1894.  New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA

I have only seen these in NJ.  I wonder if veterans' groups in PA have made sure veterans have markers that state either WWI or II?  WWI Signals Corps member, in the Telegraph Battalion, Glenwood Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ

A portion of the monument to Commodore David Porter (1780-1843), the first person buried in the Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia.  He started his maritime career at age 16, and at age 18 was a midshipman on the USS Constellation.  He was a POW in Tripoli for 2 years during the Barbary Wars, captured 3 ships from the pirate Jean Laffite, adopted and raised David Farragut, (who became the first admiral of the US Navy), and commanded the USS Essex during the War of 1812.  He was court-martialed for invading Puerto Rico to rescue a fellow commander ("unsanctioned excessive naval action").  So he resigned and joined the Mexican Navy, only to be asked by President Jackson to serve as US Ambassador to Turkey, which Porter did until he died.  (Now THAT is an obituary)  Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Frank Shaffer died in 1898 in Lexington, KY while serving his country in the Spanish American war, aged 19.  He had entered the service in July and died in Division Hospital in September of typhoid fever.  Lower Saucon Christ Lutheran Cemetery, Hellertown, PA

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, PA

Lt. Frederick Compton, Light Cavalry, killed at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, aged 25. Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Corporal Seely most likely died during the Spanish American War.  Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Joseph Reynolds was wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania, died aged 19.  West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

George Jago died July 15, 1863, aged 28.  Possibly from wounds suffered at Gettysburg a few weeks earlier?  "The tired soldier bold and brave now rests his weary feet.  And the to shelter of the ground, George made his last retreat."  Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Flourtown, PA

"Fear not that ye have died for naught, the torch ye threw to us we caught.  Ten million hands will hold it high, and freedom's light shall never die.  We've learned the lesson that ye taught in Flanders Field."     New Goshenhoppen Union Cemetery, East Greenville, PA
 Hmm....No, if we had really learned the lesson, there'd be no more wars.  But thanks to all service personnel that sacrifice every day for the United States of America.  God bless you and keep you safe and bring you home. Preferably vertically and not horizontally.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!!

Uh, yeah, in case you needed a close up of that gun.  :)

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