Mount Olivet inaugurates a new memorial garden | Military

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At least once a year, Colonel Danford Bryant visits the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia.

Bryant, the army garrison commander at Fort Detrick, held back tears on Saturday morning as he explained the significance of the grave to the small crowd gathered in front of him. He will “visit dear friends,” he says, and spend hours pondering their sacrifice.

“These places, these memorials, these places of reflection are important to many of us,” said Bryant.

Now Mount Olivet Cemetery is home to a new memorial garden where Bryant and others hope the residents of Frederick will take the time to reflect in the same way.

On Saturday, community members gathered to dedicate Never Forget Garden, a space meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington. Eventually, said Christopher Haugh, director of Mount Olivet, the garden will have a gazebo, benches and lots of vegetation.

For now, it’s a grassy space tucked away towards the center of Mount Olivet, adorned with a marble marker and a few young flowers.

Sponsored by the Carrollton Manor chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, it aims to provide a quiet space to honor deceased veterans and their families, Haugh said.

One hundred years ago this fall, the remains of an unknown American soldier who died in World War I were brought from France to Arlington and buried under what is now the grave site. Other unknowns were added in 1958 and 1984.

But in addition to serving as a burial place for those who are physically buried there, the monument is a place of national mourning and reflection on military service.

“Today we are carrying on that tradition,” said Bryant.

A Mount Olivet Never Forget Garden marker is decorated with the same three figures that adorn the Arlington Tomb, representing peace, victory and bravery.

Sharon Kemper Suarez, Regent of the DAR Chapter of Carrollton Manor, remembers scanning a map of Mount Olivet about a year ago, looking for a location for the Never Forget Garden.

Haugh showed a small circle of grass at the intersection between areas T, U, and S. The space looked perfect, Kemper Suarez said – and the areas around it shared the same initials as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. .

“The hairs on the back of the neck stood on end,” Kemper Suarez said. “And we thought, ‘We have to go see him. “”

After about a year of planning and fundraising, she said, it felt good to see the garden space officially dedicated. She plans to help Haugh and other Mount Olivet staff raise funds for the gazebo, benches and other landscaping.

The part of the cemetery in which the garden now stands was laid out around the same time that World War I was ending and the Tomb of the Unknowns was consecrated, Haugh said.

“We have a high concentration of World War I veterans surrounding us in this circle here,” Haugh said. “We have over 600 World War I veterans – 12 who died in active service. “

The garden is also surrounded by many victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic, Haugh added.

More than 100 years later, still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, community members at the ceremony took comfort in familiar rituals they had missed: the presentation of colors, the rifle salute, the lugubrious tune from “Taps”.

“If the past 18 months have taught us anything, they have taught us how important community is,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said in his remarks. “And you are only truly a community when you take the time to remember those who have come before us.”


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