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Gov. Corbett to Speak at 150th Memorial Day Service in Boalsburg

by on May 26, 2014 6:30 AM

What is typically a small evening service to honor fallen American service members on Memorial Day will be an expanded ceremony Monday to also honor veterans and feature Gov. Tom Corbett as the keynote speaker.

As Monday will be the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day in Boalsburg, organizers are planning to not only remember those who died in war, but also pay tribute to veterans who live in the State College area, according to Dan Barker, who is in charge of this year's service.

"It's always been just a small commemoration, but this year we wanted to get more people involved," Barker says. "Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have fallen and for 150th anniversary we want to remember those who died, but also thank those who are veterans and here with us."

Organizers announced this week that Corbett has confirmed he will offer remarks at the service.

The Boalsburg Village Conservancy organizes a memorial service for 6 p.m. Memorial Day, with a procession that starts at 5:45 p.m. at the intersections of Main and Church streets, also known as the "diamond," with the service held at the end of Church Street at the cemetery.

This year is unique in that organizers are inviting veterans to participate in the procession and attend the memorial service. Additionally, organizers have invited several dignitaries, such as local, state and federal officials, including Gov. Tom Corbett.

According to local historians, the event began 150 years ago when three women walked to the Boalsburg Cemetery where they placed flowers on the graves of their loved ones killed during the Civil War.

The women - Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller, and Elizabeth Meyer – decided they would return the following year and decorate all of the graves of the other fallen soldiers in the cemetery, and the community joined them. That one act of kindness is believed to have started Memorial Day.

Barker has been participating in the Memorial Day event for more than 25 years.

"Historically, it's one of those unrivaled stories and then, from a pure patriotic thought process, it's a phenomenal event that happened to occur in this tiny little town in central Pennsylvania and it's an opportunity to annually show appreciation for those folks who gave their lives for our country," says Barker.

For more information on the 6 p.m. service, click HERE.

For more information on Memorial Day weekend events, click HERE.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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