Grafton to Host 150th Anniversary of Longest Running Memorial Day Parade in the U.S.

By Local News | May 27, 2017
By Alex Wiederspiel. The town of Grafton claims ownership to the longest running Memorial Day service in the United States. And, technically, they are right–according to Keith Barnes, Director of the West Virginia National Cemetery and Grafton National Cemetery.
 
“History can be tough when you go back that far, but we think we can say that it’s the longest continuous Memorial Day ceremony in the country,” Barnes said Thursday on “The Gary Bowden Show” on the AJR News Network.
 
“This will be the 150th anniversary of the [Grafton National] Cemetery and 150 years of celebrating Memorial Day in some form going back all the way to 1867.”
 
That’s in spite of the fact that there have not been new burials in Grafton’s cemetery since the 1960s. Just a few miles away, the West Virginia National Cemetery in Pruntytown, established in 1987, now takes in West Virginia’s fallen sons and daughters.
 
“Memorial Day is really to remember those people who gave that ultimate sacrifice in combat–died in war,” Barnes said.
 
Festivities at the West Virginia National Cemetery will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 28. Barnes said it’s typically a shorter ceremony compared to the festivities Monday in downtown Grafton–especially considering the pomp and circumstance surrounding the 150th anniversary of observance.
 

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