Veterans memorial garden dedicated

June 26, 2003|by DON AINES

FORT LOUDON, Pa. - Many veterans lie buried in Stenger Hill Cemetery, but for most, the village of Fort Loudon had been their home.

In one corner of the cemetery, however, is the grave of a young man who died in what for him was a foreign land.

"They figure he was one of the men on the raid that strayed this way," Anna Rotz said of the unknown Confederate soldier's grave. The soldier was shot July 30, 1864, the same time that Confederate raiders were occupying and burning Chambersburg, Pa., about 16 miles to the east.


"Somebody always decorates it," Rotz said of the grave, which was adorned with the Stars and Bars, Stars and Stripes, a cross and flowers.

As the sun crept toward the mountains to the west Wednesday evening, about 100 people gathered in the cemetery to honor all the veterans there who served in war and peace and at home and abroad. The ceremony, part of the community's bicentennial celebration, marked the unveiling of a veterans memorial garden.

The centerpiece is a large stone with a bronze plaque, backed by three flag poles, dogwoods, yews and arborvitae. Three benches face the stone.

"We pray that their service to us is blessed by You, O' Father, and that You are with our present armed forces members each hour of each day as they serve this great country," Fort Loudon American Legion Chaplain Bruce Jones said as he led the crowd in prayer.

Gary Patterson of Chambersburg played "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes and members of the Fulton Honor Guard from McConnellsburg, Pa., performed the rifle salute and taps.

At the end of the ceremony, visitors placed carnations on veterans graves around the cemetery. Jones asked them to read the names on the markers and consider the effect the veterans' sacrifices had on their lives.

Grass clippings partially obscured the flush bronze marker for Charles W. Murky, a veteran of the Korean War who died in 2000. Harold Keefer, the service officer for the American Legion, spotted the grave as he was preparing to leave and placed a flower upon the marker.

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