One of the oldest gravestones in Lloyd cemetery belongs to George S. Brundage. It contains all that is known or remembered about a soldier who gave his life for his country:
George S. Brundage
Died at City Point Hospital,
Sept. 21, 1864
Aged 20 years and 26 days
He was true to the flag and true to the cross. He sleeps in Jesus.
Born August 26, 1844 in Newark NJ
Enlisted from New Paltz in the
20th Regiment, Feb 26, 1864
Established in 1861, the cemetery has many Civil War era Veterans interred there, in addition to members of many of the founding families of the New Paltz area: Deyo, DuBois, Elting, Hasbrouck, among others. There’s also one soldier of the American Revolution. Constant Church, born Dec. 30, 1758 and died June 23, 1836 is interred there, along with his wife, Deborah Wheeler. Their stone is marked “Soldier of the Revolution.” Their remains were relocated to the Lloyd Cemetery from another site in 1954. No one is sure why.
Most stones tell a partial history of the soldiers buried below, including their unit, battles fought and their place of death. Their age at the time of death is often marked in years, months and days. There is often an oath of dedication of service to God and Country, inscriptions that gradually fade and may someday be lost in time.
It’s a concern for Cemetery Trustee Dennis Bragg, Superintendent Charles Meuser and his crew of Blake Hoosier and Mike DePaola. They work throughout the year to maintain the cemetery as a peaceful, serene and well-maintained setting. Special attention is paid during the weeks and days leading up to Memorial Day, when the nation honors its war dead.
The holiday that we know as Memorial Day, dates back to the time shortly after the Civil War. General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed the first major Memorial Day on May 30, 1868 to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers.
On that first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Civil War soldiers buried in the cemetery.
The 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances that had taken place in various locations in the three years since the end of the Civil War. It is now believed that Waterloo, NY was the first community to observe Memorial Day in 1866, when businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
By the late 19th century, many communities across the country had begun to celebrate Memorial Day, and after World War I, observers began to honor the dead of all of America’s wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.
The Lloyd Cemetery crew follows the national custom of decorating the graves of Veterans with small American flags. Last year they distributed flags to 633 graves of known military veterans. The more than 7,000 cemetery plots now serve as the final resting place for Veterans of more modern military conflicts as well.
“Our ancestors, all the way to our great-grandparents, are here,” Meuser said.
Bragg estimates that there will be enough room in the cemetery to continue interring deceased for another 100 years or so before they run out of room, but the older graves are a concern. As the stones age, they become harder and harder to read. The information they contain - often the last link to a person’s past - could soon be lost in time. He is hoping to start an annual Memorial Day tribute to a chosen Veteran so that the story contained on the gravestone will not be forgotten.
Memorial Day services
Many Veteran’s organizations will be making the rounds this week, to visit local cemeteries to pay tribute to the nation’s fallen. In addition, the following parades are scheduled:
The Town of Plattekill will host its annual Memorial Day Parade on Saturday, May 28, rain or shine.
Line up at town hall, Route 44-55, Modena, will take place at noon. The parade will step off at 1 p.m. and head south along Route 32, ending at the Town of Plattekill Veteran’s Park.
A short memorial service will follow at the park to pay tribute to those who have served in the armed forces and made the ultimate sacrifice. Refreshments will be served after the memorial at the pavilion.
This year’s Town of Marlborough Parade will take place on Sunday, May 29 in the hamlet of Milton.
Parade assembly will be at SonoTek (Milton Industrial Park) at noon, step off is at 1 p.m.
The parade route will be through the Hamlet of Milton, across Route 9W, and end at Cluett Schantz Memorial Park.
American Legion Post 193 will host the annual Town of Lloyd Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 30, beginning with a 9 a.m. step off.
The Parade route will take marchers from Phillips Avenue to New Paltz Road to Main Street. From there, the march will proceed right onto Vineyard Ave., left onto Milton Ave, right onto Van Wagner Road, down Vineyard Avenue to the village square.
Ceremony and memorials will take place at the flagpole in the hamlet in front of the Methodist Church.
Hot dogs and refreshments will be available at the American Legion Post following the ceremony.