Memorial Day

By Bob Balgemann


BOONE COUNTY – When it comes to remembering Memorial Day, Boone County has it covered.

Whether it’s the federal observance, this year on May 25, or the traditional observance, on May 30, there are tasteful ceremonies put on by the Garden Prairie Grasshoppers/Sweet Clover 4-H Club and at Shattuck’s Grove Cemetery, respectively.

The Lawrenceville Cemetery observance, which began more than 50 years ago, is a week or so before the federal Memorial Day. That’s because so many are out of town for the long weekend that 4-H leaders decided to provide an opportunity to remember those who served in the military while not altering weekend plans.

Weather can be a factor, even late in May. And this year strong winds forced the event to be held in Jim Turner’s nearby barn. Gary Turner, longtime 4-H leader and emcee, once again presided over ceremonies.

The same premise applies to the observance at Shattuck’s Grove, off Reed’s Crossing Road. It is held after the traditional Memorial Day, again for those who might have been away and been unable to attend.

Some are regulars each year but few have attended as many as Martha Hughes. She remembered her first visit, with her boyfriend, when she was 16 years old. That was 75 years ago and she’s still going.

And when it comes to memories, she said, “It’s always cold here. It could be 90 degrees down the road, but it’s cold here. I guess it’s the trees.”

Shattuck’s Grove Cemetery is picturesque, tree-laden and situated on a hillside. Seventy who served in the military are buried here, including 13 veterans of the Civil War. One of the 13 was in his late 68s when he fought, ultimately living to be 102 years of age.

Another veteran fought in the Spanish-American War, with nine serving during World War I.

The old and the new

Memorial Day 2015 at Shattuck’s Grove once again featured a 21-gun salute by an honor guard, consisting of veterans from the VFW and American Legion posts in Belvidere.

Case and Cole Charlesworth led the Pledge of Allegiance; Angie Winchel sang The Star Spangled Banner and Holly Charlesworth read, “I Am Your Flag;” and Austin Brockmann read The Gettysburg Address.

It was longtime emcee Cheryl Sturges who provided a new wrinkle for this year’s ceremony.

In an attempt to provide a different kind of music, she contacted Charles Swanson about bringing a group to the cemetery. The two of them have been working on a project to restore the historic one-room Stone School, which was built in Spring Township in 1850.

As it turned out Swanson was a member of 2nd City Chorus, a barbershop chorus with members in Boone and Winnebago counties. And so the group, formed in 1999, appeared at Shattuck’s Grove Cemetery on May 31 and sang a patriotic medley.

In addition the director, who lives in Lombard, led the audience in singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and Amazing Grace.

Ron Parrett, the group’s publicist, said it has 20 regular members and has enjoyed a measure of success in competitions. Most recently it was the small chorus champion and most entertaining chorus during a contest in Bloomington.

The Rev. Scott Stolberg, new pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Belvidere, gave the Memorial Day address. In conclusion, Taps was played by Jake Walker.

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