BOALSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– Boalsburg celebrated its 159th Memorial Day Service after a day full of events in what some know as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Since October in 1864 people in Boalsburg have been decorating the graves of the fallen. But in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson recognized Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
“It’s too long a story to go into those details today, but just believe me when I say, as seems to always be the case, politics was involved,” Boalsburg native and historian Cathy Horner said.
Horner was the keynote speaker at the service and has been researching the question of which town is the true birthplace.
“We found that it is nearly an impossible question to answer,” Horner said. “We do know that our ladies laid flowers on these graves three years before the organized effort in Waterloo New York. And that our yearly service has continued uninterrupted since 1864.”
After the Boalsburg Boy Scout Troop presented the colors and members of the Boalsburg Village Conservancy laid flowers on the graves, Horner and Pastor Brent Book of the Zion Lutheran Church spoke to the importance of passing the tradition onto the next generation.
“It is up to you to teach the importance of this tradition so when they are adults, they will want to gather at the diamond, and walk to the cemetery on Memorial Day,” Horner said.
“We must continue to gather in unity to solemnly remember and meaningfully recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we might live as a free nation,” Book said. “Of the people, for the people and by the people.”