DJ SMITH/For the County News
Veterans of the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, and others lie at rest at the Lakeside Cemetery in Wayland.
Wayland veterans dedicate Lakeside Cemetery flagpole
With a reserved ceremony, and at long last, a flagpole was dedicated Memorial Day by the Theodore Van Tassel American Legion Post No. 402 above the graves of those who rest within the Lakeside Cemetery in Wayland.
A walk around the grounds shows that many names are lost to the ages, now unreadable from the toll that time and weathering took on headstones placed lovingly so long ago by family and friends. While some of these markers may hide the names of some of the armed forces veterans buried there, others give immediate testament to the service to their country Wayland area veterans accomplished. One of these holds a particular historic benchmark, honoring a veteran who served 200 years ago during the War of 1812.
If the age of this cemetery shows, this new flagpole no longer does explained Legion commander of Post 402, Kevin Mark. After years of service at the now decommissioned Reserve Center in Wayland, it was starting to lean and was in need of restoration. Mark said he called the owner of the property, John Edmonds, to ask him if he would donate this made-in-New York pole to the Legion for reuse at Lakeside Cemetery. After Edmonds’ okay, the phone calls continued and the donation of labor and materials came forth to make the project happen.
Dean Kiefer, an Arkport Legion member and president of the Lakeside Cemetery Association, called it “a great idea” and gave his blessing for the project. At the ceremony he shared that he had a particular affection for this flagpole since he had “mustered under it” and raised it many times as a 10-year member of the Reserve Center during the Vietnam War era.
During the dedication ceremony, Mark said, “This is a physical symbol of how a community should come together for the greater good of its area – and this country.” He named many of those who stepped forward to make it happen, including Tony Case, Ron Becker, Larry Mehlenbacher, president of Lmc Industrial Contractors (whose crew restored the flagpole), Antoine Case, Jason Coates, Mike Landino, Jeff Mark and others. He especially thanked the members of the Sons of the American Legion who helped on this project as well as funding the purchase of two other flagpoles for the East Wayland and Northside cemeteries, which never had one, and the replacement and moving of the flagpole at the Old Catholic Cemetery.
This means that all eight of the cemeteries that Post 402 maintains now have flagpoles.
Mark couldn’t say enough how proud he was of all the volunteers who made this dedication happen. But, he said he was a bit disappointed in not having more civic minded residents try to help in such projects. By example, he hopes that others would answer the call as selflessly as did Col. John Stampher, who when asked to help simply said, “where do you want me and what do you want me to do.”