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Ceremony honors Revolutionary soldier

June 07, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WILLIAMSPORT -- It's a moment that probably would have made Revolutionary War veteran Christian Ardinger proud.

The sounds of a flute and drum drifted through the air as re-enactors dressed in Revolutionary-era garb approached Ardinger's grave in a single line.

Muskets were fired in his honor at the Riverview Cemetery off West Church Street and Ardinger's history, including his time with the Cumberland Militia, was recounted.

Then the estimated 35 people who turned out at the hilltop grave were encouraged to recite the Sons of the American Revolution pledge:

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"We, descendants of the heroes of the American Revolution, who by their sacrifices established the United States of America, reaffirm our faith in the principles of liberty and our Constitutional Republic, and solemnly pledge ourselves to defend them against every foe."

The 3 p.m. ceremony was held in part to fulfill a basic charge of the Sons of the American Revolution, which is to honor Revolutionary War veterans, said James G. Ballard Jr., president of the Christian Ardinger Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The local chapter of the group was named after Ardinger after a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution realized she was related to him.

Interest in the local chapter of the organization, founded in 1971, has waned and Ballard was picked to help rebuild interest in the group. Sunday's ceremony was part of that effort.

Dedicated Sunday at Ardinger's grave was a marker signifying him as a "patriot," a designation given to anybody who gave patriotic service to their country. That service could have been as basic as providing grain, Ballard said.

Ardinger's patriotism came in the form of his military service, which likely included taking part in his battalion's expedition to Canada from April 1776 to March 1777, according to Robert Zins, a descendant of Ardinger who spoke at Sunday's ceremony.

Ardinger moved to Williamsport in about 1787 and obtained land on Vermont Street, Zins said. He was to pay two bushels of wheat per year as part of a lease agreement, Zins said.

Ardinger died in Williamsport on Jan. 1, 1807, said Zins, who wrote a book about the Ardingers in Williamsport.

Zins recalled coming to Riverview Cemetery about 20 years ago searching for Christian Ardinger's grave.

"It's as if (I was) being drawn there," Zins said.

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