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Public invited to dedication of veterans memorial area



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September 14, 2011 - Ridgelawn Memorial Cemetery in Oxford is inviting the public to help dedicate its new veterans memorial area by attending a special ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.

"We're dedicating this area to (American Legion) Post 108," said Loretta Acheson, a member of the well-known local family that founded the cemetery in 1927 and has owned and operated it ever since at 99 W. Burdick St.

"It seems like anything Oxford needs, Post 108 is always there to help. All we need to do is ask and they're there, from (providing) flags to helping with the needy."

During Saturday's ceremony, Ridgelawn will unveil three new flagpoles for its veterans memorial area. One will bear the American flag, one the state flag and one will fly the black-and-white flag representing all those soldiers classified as Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA).

"There will be a plaque saying it's dedicated to Post 108 and all who served," Acheson said.

Ridgelawn also plans to honor a select group of local individuals and businesses who have made veterans "a priority within this community" as well as host a flag-burning ceremony to properly and respectfully dispose of tattered and worn American flags.

The flag-burning ceremony will be conducted by Boy Scout Troops 108 and 366, both of which are based in Oxford. Members of the public are invited to bring their well-used flags for the scouts to dispose of.

Ridgelawn's new veterans memorial area will be used as the gathering place each year when the cemetery hosts its Wreaths Across America ceremony on the second Saturday in December.

This nationwide ceremony, in which Ridgelawn started participating in 2009, honors deceased veterans by laying Christmas wreaths near their graves.

"We have so many veterans in our cemetery," Acheson said. "We just want to make sure they're remembered."

Right now, Ridgelawn is selling brick pavers, which will be used to form and finance a 65-foot memorial walkway leading to the new veterans area.

The bricks cost $65 for a 7-inch-by-7-inch paver and $150 for a 7-inch-by-14-inch paver. Each brick can be personalized with names, dates and messages selected by the purchaser.

Ridgelawn hopes to begin construction of the memorial walkway next year as well as erect seven brick pillars in the veterans area.

Measuring 30 inches high and 24 inches wide, each pillar will bear a plaque indicating who it's designed to honor.

Five of the pillars will honor the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The sixth and seventh pillars will recognize the Merchant Marines and POW-MIAs.

"We want to give (Post 108) and the other people in the community, like the Boy Scouts, an area where they can hold ceremonies and reflect," Acheson said. "It's our way of giving back for everything they've given to us."

For more information, please contact Ridgelawn Memorial Cemetery at (248) 628-6244 or e-mail ridgelawnmemorial@hotmail.com.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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