Legion will continue a tradition

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, May 27, 2010

People from around the nation will gather in cemeteries on Monday to honor those who made the greatest sacrifice for America.

American Legion Post 57 will join that observance with an 11 a.m. Memorial Day service at the entrance of Cedar Hill Cemetery that has been held annually for nearly a century.

“It is our duty to honor those who fought for our country,” said Mark Culbertson, a Post 57 member for nearly 60 years. “We place wreaths on each of the memorials to symbolize the recognition of their gift to our country. They placed their lives on the line, left their homes, went out and served our country.”

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Cedar Hill Cemetery, which opened in 1802, is the final resting place for local and state political leaders including mayors, a former governor, a lieutenant governor, a congressman — as well as military leaders who date back to the Civil War.

One man buried there is Frank Whitney Godwin, who was an infantry captain in World War I and a part of the American Legion Post 57, which was established by two Suffolk natives the same year the legion formed in 1919. Godwin later became National Vice Commander of the legion in 1935.

Every Memorial Day since the post’s inception, members have gone to Cedar Hill to honor the brave souls who fought for our country.

Although the tradition is nearly a century old and Godwin himself is now among the honored, the Legion continues to hold the services in honor of those buried and memorialized in the cemetery.

Wreaths will be placed on each of the memorials — the Korean-Vietnam memorial, World War I and II memorials, and the Spanish-American, Civil and Revolutionary war memorials.

“It is an honor to be a part of such a legacy,” Culbertson said.