Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Address

On this Memorial Day, many will visit the cemetaries where loved ones were buried and in some of those cemetaries a community leader may be called up to make a brief address. Such was the case in 1960 when L.W. Shultz was asked to speak at the Lancaster Township Cemetary. On this Memorial Day here are excerpts from that Memorial Day Address.

The first white settler to come to this community was Joseph Sprowl in 1834. Lancaster Township was first formed in 1837 ... The first burial here was that of Sarah Hoover Heaston who died October 25, 1837 at 23 years of age. ... Now in 1960 ... some 5000 have been buried here including 107 men who have served in the armed forces. Many of you can join with me in saying that your closest kin are buried here. More than fifty of my closest relatives have been here interred and there names can be found on these stones.

I come today to speak on the theme - TODAY WE REMEMBER - and shall spend most of my time in recalling to your minds the memory of those who have here lived in this community and now lie buried in this city of the dead.

Six score and six years ago our forefathers began coming into this area bringing forth a new community and setting up homes, schools, and churches, dedicated to the ideals of democracy and Christian faith. Today after 126 years we are met on these grounds in their honor and in memory of them and their descendants who lie in the beautiful cemetary across the road. In a large sense they have made their own record and the best we can do is to recall in memory their names, why they came and what they did here in our land to make it a great country in which to live. And too we should renew our pledge to them, our God and our country that we shall strive to keep alive the virtues and ideals which they have given to us as a heritage so that democracy, education, and religion shall continue to be the dominant forces in our lives and the lives of those who come after us.

Perhaps at this point I should stop as Lincoln did in that Memorial Address in 1863. But there are certain avenues I should like to explore and portray to you. Who were these pioneers? What did they seek here? What did they leave us as a heritage? What is our obligation in the days ahead to best show our gratitude for their gifts to us?


We of today need to remember that the strength of our civilization is spiritual rather than scientific or physical. America has become great because of its ideals which have their roots in the church life of yesterday and today. Twelve of the original thirteen colonies were founded by church groups. Our schools, hospitals and charitable institutions were founded by the churches of our lands. The ideals and framework of our human rights came out of the Christian faith and teaching. And so for the future assurance that we may have the blessings of God and His guidance for our children and their children we need the Church. Let us strengthen it by our faithful attendance and support. In the great events of life - birth - marriage and death we recognize it. Let us do so every day as well as on Sunday.

We should come as did the wise men of old to say as he did in Eccles. 12:13 - "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter - Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."


Source: People and Places: An Autobiography, Lawrence W. Shultz