Dinwiddie prepares to honor fallen heroes during Memorial Day services

By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: May 25, 2018 | 2:20 p.m.

DINWIDDIE – Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon as Monday, May 28 quickly approaches. A three-day weekend that is traditionally considered a part of the unofficial kickoff to summer, many county residents will have cookouts and picnics, hit the lakes, beaches, or swimming pools while many others will want to take the time to reflect and honor our nation’s fallen heroes and our own loved ones. With Dinwiddie’s roots running deep with connections to the military, a number of observances are planned for the coming Memorial Day holiday across the county.

The annual Dinwiddie County Memorial Day observance will be held at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day at the Historic Dinwiddie Courthouse, located at 14101 Boydton Plank Road. The event is organized and sponsored by Dinwiddie Masonic Lodge #136 A.F. & A.M. This event is free and open to the public. 

This year’s event will include music by the 392nd Army Band of Fort Lee. Local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will also participate in the program. Keynote speaker for this year’s program will be Sergeant Major Vittorio F. DeSouza, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee.

“Memorial Day represents a day of fun and relaxation for so many. Each year, we look forward to a three-day weekend filled with cookouts, pool parties, and all sorts of activities. It is so important that we pause on this day to remember the sacrifice made by so many men and women in the protection of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. They are worthy of our time,” said Tommy Peters, Dinwiddie Masonic Lodge #136.

Another informative and moving program you may want to check out will be taking place all three days of the holiday weekend in Northern Dinwiddie. In recognition of Memorial Day, Petersburg National Battlefield will present a variety of programs at Poplar Grove National Cemetery in North Dinwiddie. 

Beginning on Saturday, May 26, through Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, visitors to the cemetery can participate in Ranger-led guided walks through the beautiful, serene, yet somber grounds of the cemetery. Visitors can also hear presentations about the history of our nation’s military cemeteries. There will be discussions about some of the many soldiers who found their final resting place at Poplar Grove. 

“For me, these observances are so important because knowing the stories of so many of the Soldiers buried at Poplar Grove, I think it comes down to the fact that we live as long as we are remembered. There are 6,181 stories at Poplar Grove, 4,000 that we don’t even have a record of because they are unknown Soldiers; but every single one of these men had people they loved, or people who loved them, or pets. They were people—people that gave everything. The stories of these brave men, some that will be passed along during the Memorial Day events, are every bit as relevant as the stories of today’s Soldiers,” said Park Ranger Elizabeth (Betsy) Dinger.

At 11 a.m. each day of Memorial Day weekend, “Stories in Stone” will be presented. This is a walking Tour of Poplar Grove National Cemetery. 

At 1 p.m. each day, there will be a World War I presentation, in observance of the 100th Anniversary of WWI. This tour will focus on WWI soldiers buried at Poplar Grove. 

At 3 p.m. each day, there will be a presentation of “America’s Sacred Ground,” a history of our National Cemeteries.

Many of the Ranger presentations will take place at the cemetery lodge. Poplar Grove National Cemetery was established in 1866. Prior to the Civil War, the land, where the cemetery now exists, belonged to Reverend Thomas B. Flowers. During the Civil War, the future cemetery grounds were used as a campground by the 50th New York Engineers during the Siege of Petersburg. Today, there are close to 6,200 soldiers buried in the cemetery, however, only 2,139 have been positively identified.

Poplar Grove National Cemetery is located at 8005 Vaughan Road, Petersburg. Maps with grave locators are available to assist those seeking specific burial sites. The Visitor Contact Station is open during special events or programming, or when staffing permits.

Dinwiddie’s Pamplin Park will also offer a full schedule of daily programs on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. The Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and all activities are included with regular museum admission.

A special Memorial Day program will begin at 12:30 p.m. During this program, visitors will learn about a number of specific soldiers and their personal experiences during the Civil War. These “It is with Sorrow that I Write” soldiers’ stories will be presented using source material taken from the Soldiers’ own letters. Their stories illustrate the causes and consequences of the Civil War. The program will include an artillery firing, followed by the presentation of the colors, and end with the always-stirring playing of Taps.

A Breakthrough Battlefield Tour will give visitors a chance to learn about the events of April 2, 1865, which is followed by bugle calls and a Civil War camp life demonstration. The viewing of “War So Terrible,” which follows two Civil War soldiers, Benjamin Franklin Meyers of the Union, and Andrew Jackson Stewart of the Confederacy, will be shown in the Battlefield Center.

Enjoy your family and friends this holiday weekend. Take part in all the many fun activities. At some point during all the hustle and bustle, try to work in time for one, two, or all three of these special events honoring those who gave everything in defense of our great Country. 

God Bless America. Happy Memorial Day Dinwiddie!

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