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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Civil War re-enactors commemorate Memorial Day



LAWRENCEVILLE - The gravestones in Hill Crest Cemetery are fading now. In a few years, no one driving by the aging stones might know the story of George H. Green, wounded in action in Pennsylvania, on May 13, 1864, or other Civil War veterans laid to rest there.

“They’re being worn away,” Civil War re-enactor Dallas Robinson said of the gravestones.

“These people deserve a voice. They deserve a face,” according to re-enactor Daniel D. Rendau. “For whatever reason they fought.”

The battles took place 150 years ago, but those in attendance at the Memorial Day Weekend Civil War re-enactment wanted to keep those stories alive Saturday.

A group of re-enactors representing the 118th New York Infantry camped out in period tents near the cemetery. Each hour on the hour, taps were played, and the soldiers dressed in period uniforms walked around the cemetery, saluting the fallen. Cemetery officials said six or seven Civil War soldiers are buried in the small cemetery off of U.S. Route 11. The salute capped off with the firing of war cannons.

This is the first year Lawrenceville held such an event, according to Hillcrest Cemetery President Bill C. Scharf.

“What we’re trying to do is teach the young kids,” Mr. Scharf said. “We’re dedicating this whole event to the fallen soldiers.”

Hillcrest’s couple hundred gravestones are home to veterans from the Civil to the Vietnam wars, former cemetery treasurer Barbara A. Cooper said. Each time she saw the re-enactors’ salute, she said she felt more patriotic.

Saturday’s event saluting fallen soliders was fitting for Memorial Day weekend, she said.

“If you forget these people, you tend to repeat things,” she said. “History needs to be remembered.”

While no Civil War battles were fought on north country soil, the lessons must still be remembered in order to avoid such a vicious war again, Mr. Favreau said.

“Families fought against families, brothers against brothers,” he said.

Re-enacting keeps the stories of past generations alive, Mr. Robinson said.

“It gives me a chance to go through, on a very low level, of what my ancestors did,” Mr. Robinson said.

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