The last Monday in May is known to many as the start of the summer, with cookouts and lake trips. This Memorial Day, while enjoying grilled foods, also take time to venture out and remember the sacrifices made for freedom.
To honor those who served locally, American Legion Post 16 in Newton is hosting a Memorial Day Service Sunday, May 26 at 2 p.m. The service will be held at Memorial Circle at Eastview emetery in Newton. The memorial will include an invocation by Rev. Dixon Adams, words by Newton Mayor Anne P. Steadman and a memorial address by Lt. Cmdr Thomas Mentzer.
For those who want to take an active role in the day, two other locations worth a trip during the long weekend are Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, N.C. and Kings Mountain National Military Park in Blacksburg, S.C.
The Salisbury National Cemetery was established as a burial ground for Union soldiers incarcerated at the prison. The dead were buried in 18 trenches that measured 240 feet long. The number of burials at the site totaled 11,700. After the Civil War, 412 bodies were relocated to the site from Morgantown, Charlotte, Lexington and other locations. The cemetery was dedicated in 1874. Following the dedication, a wall was built, and in 1876 headstones and monuments were completed. In 1999, Salisbury National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The cemetery boasts several monuments for the number of soldiers buried there. The oldest monument found at the cemetery is The Federal Monument to the Unknown Dead. The granite obelisk was commissioned by Congress in 1873 to honor the unknown soldiers who died in the Salisbury Confederate Prison. Another monument to see is The Pennsylvania Monument. The monument, erected in 1909, is in honor of the some 736 men from Pennsylvania who are buried there.
For those wishing to honor those buried in Salisbury, natural cut flowers and artificial flowers are welcome to honor Memorial Day. The cemetery office is open for Memorial Day from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and visitation hours are from dawn until dusk daily.
For families who want to take the cookout away from home, Kings Mountain National Military Park is a good location. The park is the location of the Battle at Kings Mountain that is said to have been the “turning point” of the Revolutionary War. The park was established in 1930 and was operated by the War Department. The park is one of the largest National Military Parks with 4,000 acres, and is one of two Revolutionary War National Military Parks.
With all the land and history, guests can bring a picnic and spend the day exploring the park and it’s history. While there, guests can learn the history of the park by watching the “Battle for Kings Mountain” film. After the movie, visitors can peruse the newly renovated museum and travel down the one and a half mile walking trail. The trail takes walkers on a tour of the battlefield and by the Centennial Monument, the U.S. Monument and Major Patrick Ferguson's grave.
The park is also only three miles away from Kings Mountain State Park, which boasts a Living History Farm complete with barn, cotton gin and blacksmith/carpenter shop. The park also features other picnic areas and more walking trails for families to enjoy.
Celebratory options are available for everyone. Whether people celebrate at home, at a service or by taking a trip back in time, all citizens should stop and take the time to remember those on Monday, 27 – loved ones and strangers – who have fought and died for the country’s freedom.