Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#194: Pay Your Remembrances

More than half a million veterans live in Indiana -- equivalent to one out of every 13 citizens.  Accordingly, Memorial Day here inspires three local parades, countless family celebrations, and this year,  a monument dedication at the Military Honor Park, located near the South Bend airport. 

While I consider Memorial Day the first (un)official day of summer and celebrate my day off with a great cookout, I fully support the purpose behind this federal holiday--a day set aside to remind us to remember, to think about those hundreds of thousand men and women who have served our country--and I am pleased that South Bend commemorates the day with such dignity.

While the last Monday of May is specially marked as a day of remembrance, it does not have to be the only day to set aside a moment to reflect on lives devoted in service to the United States.  You can find war memorials at many local places, such as:
  • Vietnam War Memorial, Howard Park
  • Firemen Memorial, Seitz Park
  • Soldier's Memorial (built in 1884 to commemorate Civil War veterans), Battell Park
  • Veteran's Memorial Park (next to the Twyckenham Bridge off Northside Drive)
Furthermore, our commemoration of past lives should not be restricted to only those who served in the armed forces -- there are a multitude of men and women who had a positive influence on history and whose final resting place is South Bend.  Take a leisurely stroll through a nearby cemetery, and you will encounter a number of intriguing characters:
  • The first Hoosier Catholic priest is buried in the Notre Dame log chapel.  
  • Schuyler Colfax, 17th Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant, is buried in the City Cemetery on Colfax Ave.
  • Stan Coveleski, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player, is buried at the Saint Joseph Cemetery off Western Ave.
  • Knute Rockne is buried in Highland Cemetery off Portage.
  • Co-founder of Studebaker Company, Clement Studebaker, is buried in Riverview Cemetary, near Highland Cemetary, off Portage.
Interested in learning more?  The Northern Indiana Center for History offers guided tours of area cemeteries.  Call 574-235-9664 for more information, and the next tour will be June 9th, of Highland Cemetery.  Ticket prices for adults are $2. 

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