It was 150 years ago that three women paused at a cemetery in Boalsburg to remember loved ones lost in the service of their country.
Elizabeth Myers, whose son was killed at Gettysburg, joined Emma Hunter and Sophie Keller, who were placing flowers on the grave of Dr. Reuben Hunter. Emma’s father had died of illness while treating Union soldiers.
That act gave rise to Memorial Day, a national time of remembering those who sacrificed.
The spirit of Boalsburg was tested in recent weeks by a senseless act of vandalism that caused $100,000 in damage to headstones in the historic cemetery where a statue of Myers, Hunter and Keller stands.
But we have witnessed a remarkable community response that included fundraising and volunteer work to restore the cemetery in time for the holiday.
The “Save the Graves” online campaign has a goal of $50,000. Bonfatto’s restaurant, of Bellefonte, sold meals at Boalsburg Fire Company to raise another $10,000.
Workers from Mayes Memorials in Lemont spent several days lifting fallen stones back into place and repairing those that were broken.
Aside from a few nicks and lines where pieces were reconnected, a visitor walking through the cemetery would hardly know the tragedy that occurred there a short time ago.
It has been an amazing effort, adding to the deep meaning the town of Boalsburg and our region experience on Memorial Day.
And now the town is bustling with the annual collection of fun and history, through the efforts of the Boalsburg Village Conservancy and other groups.
Monday will bring two Civil War battle re-enactments, the presentation of the Boal Awards to three members of the community and the annual Memorial Day service at 6 p.m.
Gov. Tom Corbett will be in attendance. He will be joined by local political, business and community leaders.
An honor guard will present colors. Bands will perform.
And three ladies in period clothing will step forward to portray that moment in 1864 when local Civil War casualties were remembered for their valor.
Memorial Day in Boalsburg is special any year, and the 150th anniversary is a very significant moment.
We hope all who move through Boalsburg this weekend pause to salute the effort that restored the town’s cemetery, where so recently folks were moved to tears at the sight of history in ruins.