- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) - Treading lightly along the soft ground on a warm, sunny afternoon, 40 people visited some of the grave sites of Michiana veterans in Mishawaka City Cemetery on Sunday.

The visits were part of The History Museum of South Bend’s annual Veterans Day Cemetery Tour. Leading the free tour and offering details about the deceased veterans was Travis Childs, the museum’s director of education.

Among many stops on the tour was the grave of Darius Dawley, who enlisted in the 9th Indiana Infantry in 1861 and rose to the rank of sergeant. Dawley was wounded during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in the Civil War and discharged from the military on May 15, 1865. He returned to Mishawaka, where those wounds led to his death on July 11, 1870.

Soldiers’ sacrifices lie at the heart of the lesson South Bend resident Kelly Sabin said she wanted to teach her young children by bringing them on the tour with her.

“I want them to see that the freedom we have today comes with a sacrifice made long before they were born, and that others are still sacrificing for that freedom today,” Sabin said, adding that she will talk with her children about what they saw on the tour.

Not all one of the veterans buried at Mishawaka City Cemetery died in a war or from wounds suffered in combat.

Mead Hurd was one of those vets. Hurd who served in the Continental Army, between 1775 and 1780, in the Revolutionary War. His grandson, Alanson, founded the town that would later be called Mishawaka, Childs told the crowd. Mead died July 19, 1834, six days after arriving in Mishawaka.

It’s tidbits of local history that make a Sunday afternoon walk through a cemetery worthwhile for Ann McFarland, 84, of Mishawaka. History wasn’t her favorite subject in school, she noted. But after starting research on her family’s genealogy, she enjoys the history lessons found among the headstones.

“Oh, there is so much information on these headstones,” McFarland said. “And the people buried here, including our veterans, parts of their stories can be found here, too.”

The Veterans Day Cemetery Tour began in 2004. It’s usually held the Sunday before Veteran’s Day.

This year’s event had one of the best turnouts, Childs said. “It’s good to see so many people here today,” he said. “When we’re able to put a name and some personal history to a headstone, it tells a story and that story is part of this area’s history.

“These tours help build respect for the community, help us see that cemeteries don’t have to be scary places, and - especially with the visit to the veterans’ grave sites - we are reminded that the freedoms we have in this country cost something. Here are some of the people who paid for it.”

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Source: South Bend Tribune, https://bit.ly/2egnIrH

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com


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