Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
The Sydney Post 41 of the Sons of Union Veterans maintains the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Memorial at the Ithaca City Cemetery. According to Barbara Ebert's history of the cemetery, the organization was given the lot in 1878, intended for the burial of “indigent members of the Post.”
The local GAR group has sponsored observances at the memorial. On Memorial Day in 1917, just after the United States entered World War I, the traditional parade wound through Ithaca streets and ended at the Ithaca City Cemetery veterans' monument. A May 31, 1917 Ithaca Journal article described the event. The Ithaca Band played patriotic tunes and a bugler sounded out "taps." One speaker read "The Blue and the Gray" poem and another the Gettysburg Address. One speech pointed out the relevance of remembering the past conflict:
"As we live over again in thought those times which tried men's souls, and re-read the story of those four years of dreadful struggle from Fort Sumter to Appomatox, we of the younger generation find within our hearts a holy longing to be worthy of the priceless inheritance into which we have entered--the land where our fathers died, but in which their spirit lives."
This point of interest is part of the tour: Tompkins County Veterans Tour