Ricky Gets A Fresh Flag For The Fourth
by Allan Appel | Jul 4, 2012 9:35 am
Posted to: Downtown
He didn’t know anything about the man or his descendants. Their only connection: One’s date of death is the other’s birthday. And both are old soldiers.
That was enough.
The modest grave belongs to Capt. Richard R. Crawford of the 7th U.S. Infantry . Crawford died in 1863 from wounds he received at the battle of Gettysburg in early July.
William Cameron Jr. decided to add a patriotic decoration to Crawford’s grave Monday in the run-up to July 4.
Cameron is the superintendent of the Grove Street Cemetery. Two weeks ago he happened to notice on the tombstone that Crawford died on Oct. 30. Cameron was born on Oct. 30.
“You have feelings,” said Cameron, a crusty Marine who served on the Battleship New Jersey during the Korean conflict. He said you can’t respond to all the history in emotion-filled necropolis that is Grove Street. But something about the Crawford grave and the shared date triggered a response.
“I put a flag there last week,” he said.
“There” is a modest marker situated in the corner of a crowded square just off Linden Avenue in the nationally landmarked cemetery at which Cameron and his wife Joan have served as co-superintendents of for more than three decades.
Within a week the flag was gone.
“It happens,” said Cameron.
Speaking with a world-weariness and only the slightest edge of complaint, he suggested what probably happened. “Look, families come here with kids The kid picks up the flag. The mother says put it down.” The mom looks the other way, the kid drops the flag, and that’s it; it’s gone.
On Monday, in a ceremony rich in its absence of ceremony, he invited a reporter to witness him replacing the flag.
He was asked whether he sees an uptick in visitors to Grove Street on the occasion of July 4t or other patriotic holidays. “You’d be surprised how few people care, except for relatives,” he responded
Still July 4 holds a special meaning for Cameron. In addition to being a vet, he grew up in West Haven in a family that had a restaurant at the Savin Rock amusement park. On July 4 “we’d decorate our bikes with red, white, and blue strips of paper. Streamers,” he said, looking off through the small opening in his office out onto the grounds and on into the past.
“I’m a vet. Americans are spoiled. People here [in America today] have no idea what they went through in other countries.”
“Over on Cedar Avenue, the first New Haven victim of the Civil War. Major Theodore Winthrop. Go see it,” Cameron said, pressing a cemetery map into a departing visitor’s hands. “There’s a big marker.”
Tags: Richard R. Crawford, William Cameron Jr., Grove Street Cemetery, Battle of Gettysburg, July 4th, Independence Day
Post a Comment
There were no comments