A drenching downpour didn’t keep folk away from the dedication of a new flagpole and granite memorial to honor the service, heroism, and sacrifice of living and deceased members of the United States Armed Forces.
The August 11 event took place in the center of the 178-year-old cemetery near a 1905 G.A.R. monument memorializing Chaplain Taylor D. Swarts, who is interred in the cemetery.
The event was four years in the making as the members of the Moscow Cemetery Association Board worked to find donors to raise the funds to pay for the two new additions to the cemetery.
Mistress of Ceremonies for the event was cemetery board president Maribeth Gwynne. The ceremony opened and closed with prayers offered by Eric Luczak, pastor of the Daleville and Maple Lake United Methodist Churches.
A flag that flew over the state capitol building was presented to Eagle Scouts Brian Castrogiovanni and James Bianchi, who raised the flag on the newly erected flagpole and led those gathered in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
In keeping with the solemnity and the patriotic theme of the event, Sgt. Jessica Milewski of the 198th Army Band, Rochester (NY) sang a beautiful a cappella rendition of the National Anthem. A floral wreath was placed near the granite monument by Moscow Cemetery Association Board vice president Kevin Duffy.
Mrs. Gwynne presented the widows of Arthur M. Hughes and Daniel Garrison, both of who were integral to the project, with flowers in honor of their husbands’ hard work, dedication, and inspiration on behalf of the Moscow Cemetery.
The event was attended by several local dignitaries. Congressman Matt Cartwright, State Senator John Blake, State Representative Mike Carroll, and Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley all spoke to the gathered crowd, offering words of appreciation to the Moscow Cemetery Association members and the North Pocono community for their ongoing and tangible commitment to remembering and honoring area military personnel.
“Under your dedicated care, with the unparalleled generosity of your donors, you have revitalized this space so generations of family members, friends, and neighbors can visit their loved ones and remember and honor their lives,” remarked Mr. Cartwright.
Mr. O’Malley spoke of what the American flag means to him, calling it “the lifeblood of our country” and a memorial “to those who lost their lives, to those who fought and gave back.” He initiated a round of applause to show appreciation for the veterans and military personnel present at the dedication ceremony.
Members of the North Pocono Mutual Aid Honor Guard and members of the Dickson City American Legion Veterans Honor Guard were on hand to lend dignity to the event.
A rifle salute followed by the playing of Taps at the gravesite of Walter F. Van Brunt, Pennsylvania Bugler from Company B, 138th Engineers, and a World War I veteran closed the solemn ceremony, a fitting salute to the memory of the veterans who served the country to further the cause of freedom.