9:30 AM comes pretty early on any Monday morning, but for some reason it didn’t seem that early on this particular day. This was the day a lot of people have been anticipating. This was the day the Cpl McEvoy was finally going to have a stone to mark his final resting place!
Jim and I arrived at Woodward Hill Cemetery about 9:15 and found that people were assembling. Chairs were set up for the family in front of the gravesite, chairs for the dignitaries next to the gravesite, State Troopers were lining up, Bagpipers were assembling and cameras were being focused by a TV station and the State Trooper Organization. It was busyness with family greeting one another, State Troopers introducing themselves to the family and final details were being ironed out. Before we knew it, the ceremony began with the State Troopers marching in from the right. What an impressive site!
There were two different Honor Guards, one from the Lancaster City Police and the other from the Pennsylvania State Troopers. The one pictured below is from Lancaster.
. . . and the State Trooper’s Department Ceremonial Unit Members which did the Presentation of Colors.After the National Anthem was sung and Invocation was given, Trooper Kelly A. Osborne-Filson (yes, this is Trooper Kelly I’ve referred to in all the posts) read Cpl McEvoy’s biography. Seated behind Kelly is Chaplain Grover G. DeVault, Pennsylvania State Police Chaplain and Lancaster City Police Chief, Keith Sadler.Captain Brenda M. Bernot, Commanding Officer of Troop J spoke of Cpl McEvoy’s sacrifice and presented the new headstone along with Terry McEvoy, grandson of the deceased McEvoy. Mr. McEvoy then placed the Memorial Wreath, which was provided by the Pennsylvania State Police Academy Civic Association, next to the new headstone. The headstone was donated by Haldy/Keener Memorials, a division of Gingrich Memorials. Members of Pennsylvania State Police Troop J made up the Firing Detail which fired 3 rounds (see the smoke??) and Trooper Louis P. Gober of Troop M played Taps. The amazing Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band gave a simply amazing rendition of, what else but, Amazing Grace! There really is nothing like a bugle playing Taps and a group of bagpies playing Amazing Grace to make goosebumps pop up at a Funeral or a Memorial Service. This one had both!
Appreciating the music is a granddaughter of Cpl. McEvoy.
The service closed with a benediction and closing remarks by Lt. William P. White. He led the Troopers (and anyone else who desired to) in the “Call of Honor,” the Pennsylvania State Trooper’s creed, motto or whatever the term they use for the . . .
Call of Honor
I am a Pennsylvania State Trooper; a soldier of the law. To me
is entrusted the honor of the force. I must serve honestly, faithfully,
and if need be, lay down my life as others have done before me,
rather than swerve from the of duty It is my duty to obey the law
and to enforce it without any consideration of class, color, creed,
or condition. It is also my duty to be of service to anyone who may
be in danger or distress, and at all times so conduct myself that the
Honor of the Force may be upheld.
After the service, photo opportunties were taken advantage of! The first and most important? Why it is the family and Kelly around the new stone! Kelly is the one in the State Trooper uniform (as if you the reader couldn’t figure that one out!)
The girl behind the headstone in the black dress and white sweater is the great-granddaughter of Cpl. McEvoy. Hallie Romanowski, is wearing her grandmother’s dress (Cpl. McEvoy’s daughter, Martha) and brought Martha’s scrapbook. That scrapbook was full of wonderful family information. Martha even kept a copy of the original report of the accident that took McEvoy’s life.
I’d love to put names with the faces, but all I know are Hallie’s, Terry McEvoy on the far left, and his sister, Vicky , in the black, next to Hallie.
A wonderful photo op would be the next photo. Terry McEvoy and the flag that had been presented to him is in the middle behind his grandfather’s new headstone. He is surrounded by the Ceremonial Unit Members. Isn’t this a great photo??
This chapter would not be complete with a picture of Trooper Kelly standing next to the headstone that would not be there today if it were not for her! Corporal Ben F. McEvoy will now be remembered through the ages, thanks to one Pennsylvania State Trooper who just would not give up! It was her sheer determination that brought us all together at Woodward Hill Cemetery on that overcast Monday morning in September.
The morning ended with what else but food and socialization at the Troop J, Lancaster Headquarters. The Pennsylvania State Police really know how to honor their own, and in doing so has shown a family that their ancestor was just as important to others as he was to them! It was a great morning and a beautiful ceremony. This was a fitting end to the final chapter in honoring
Cpl. Ben F. McEvoy, Pennsylvania State Trooper.
The blogs dealing with this story from the very beginning can be accessed at the following links:
Thank you for following the story. It’s been a pleasure being the “storyteller!”