Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Honoring Our Heroes

When the NY Times reported Many Services Arranged for the Memorial Day celebration on May 30, 1936, it mentioned services at Grant's Tomb at the "conclusion of the Riverside Drive parade."

Little did they know that the Bower branch of my family would be participating in that ceremony. My family had been involved with Lafayette Camp Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Vanderbilt Auxiliary for years.  

Posing on the steps of Grant's Tomb are my Aunt Midge (center) and behind her is her father (my grandfather) Stanton M. Bower; next to him is his mother (my great-grandmother) Irene Florence McCord, and in the front row far right is her daughter (my great aunt) Leila Bower Kroepke.

Written on the back of this photo: "Grant's Tomb May 30th 1936, To My Friend Marjorie, Lloyd Vosseller, Junior Vice Commander, Lafayette Camp 140, S.O.U.V."

Aunt Midge often reminisced about her laying the wreath at Grant's Tomb when she was 12 years old.

My gr-grandmother, Irene Florence McCord Bower (1867-1944) was president of the Vanderbilt Auxiliary c. 1895.

This American flag was passed down from Aunt Leila to Aunt Midge to me. The inscription at the top: "Presented by [illegible] to Aux. 64, 1917.

Great Aunt Leila was proud of her involvement with the Vanderbilt Auxiliary. She was its president from 1915-1917, treasurer for twelve years, personal aide to Dept. President, and Chairman of Grant's Birthday Committee "many times." Above: Ann Oelhaf and Beatrice Hott with the flag which the Auxiliary presented to the Leonia Girl Scouts, Leonia, NJ.

Every year on Memorial Day, Aunt Leila and the Auxiliary, along with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, placed wreaths at the Civil War monument in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. My gr-grandfather, James McCord, a Civil War veteran, is buried in this plot.

This is why I'm one of 50 volunteers helping to computerize the burial records of Woodlawn Cemetery. The project has been underway for 2 weeks and 15,000 records have already been processed! That's 6% of the total. Only 235,000 more to go!


Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars marching in last year's parade, Livingston, NJ.

Remember to support our military heroes by attending the Memorial Day parade in your community.

Have a great weekend!

Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer

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