Nothing makes Memorial Day more meaningful than spending it in a cemetery. And no cemetery is as awesome as Harrisburg Cemetery on Memorial Day . . . in our humble opinion!
We started our 2009 Memorial Day Rounds in Marietta Cemetery paying homage to the my Leader ancestors and headed north to Harrisburg. We never made it to another cemetery since we spent a good portion of the day in this cemetery, slowly driving (Jim) and photographing (Linda). We had brought our lunch and even had our picnic in the cemetery!
The Caretaker’s Cottage is the first site that greets you as you enter the Cemetery. It was the office when we first started visiting the Cemetery, but is now a residence again. It has unique architectural elements and if you look closely at the eaves you’ll see some of them.
I have written about the Civil War Veterans site in another blog, but I still can’t help being impressed with the fact that those who fought each other at one time are now resting together in eternity. Brothers in death.
The colors of green and gray make an awesome backdrop for our American red, white and blue flag. I love the simplicity of the Beidleman site.
This is perhaps, my favorite picture of the day. It was peaceful, serene and interrupted only by the chirping of birds and the leaves rustling under my feet. I turned around and took the next picture, with the same peaceful, serene feel.
The next picture is one that just captured my interest. The cross must have sat atop the base at one time, but is now prone. It is beautiful just the way it is, in my opinion and I had to capture it for my collection.
Hidden away on the western edge of Cemetery, I found this quiet, reflective spot. It once overlooked the city of Harrisburg, but now trees hide the neighboring area from view. I never knew this site existed until Sunday, and wish my ancestors had done something like this!
If you look closely at the wall, you’ll see memorials for each member of the Boyd family, daughter and son-in-law’s included. Each one has their full name, the full name of their parents, dates of birth and death. Most of them tell where they were born! How’s that for a complete genealogy?
John Boyd was only 21 and this memorial tells where he was wounded and lists exactly where he was buried at sea. Each of the memorials have the exact same script and are the same size. It is a beautiful site (and sight!)
John White Geary, forever memorialized in this bronze statue erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There is a bronze plaque on each side chronicling his achievements in life, First mayor of San Francisco, Governor of Kansas, Governor of Pennsylvania and Lt. Colonel in the Mexican War and promoted to Major General in the Civil War. This is also hidden away.
Continuing on our western perimeter route, this bench was at the s/w corner of the cemetery. According to the inscription:
Underneath are the Everlasting Arms
Edward R. Pierce, 1860-1926
Isabel C. Pierce, 1866-1917
Ralph H. Pierce, 1892-1911
Directly across from the Pierce bench is this crypt for the William Rife family. I caught a glimpse of some color through the door and had to go over to see what it was. I was not disappointed!
The interior is completely marble with the stained glass window being the only color. There appear to be four burial vaults in this crypt. It is beautiful and impressive.
The reason we went to the cemetery was to honor Ephraim H. Niess, my great-great-grandfather. He served in CO. E, 122nd RGT, Pa VOL. Each year when we go I photograph the flag placed at his grave. This year he was skipped. I was so disappointed. I did let him know we did not forget, however. I appreciate what each and every one of my ancestors did so I can have the life I have today. I honor them all!
I have many more pictures, but decided to keep some of them for a later date. This has always been our favorite cemetery and Sunday just cemented the fact!
Honor a hero in your life for Memorial Day 2009!