"My Tribute .. to Pvt. William H. Fryling"
Helen Marie Melly More
27 May 1996
Annual Tribute .. Memorial Day
"After learning that My G/G Grandfather served in the Civil War (1862-1865) with the 104th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry .. I was then able to secure a copy of his veteran's pension file via the National Archives in DC - which revealed the date and place of his death. Following many months of diligent research, I finally discovered his 1903 burial site in Philadelphia .. and decided to drive from Boston to Pennsylvania to pay my respects to this very special man .. He from whence I came.
The folks at the cemetery were extremely helpful with checking their records .. and personally escorted me to Grandfather's grave .. which was an open field containing MANY graves .. and nary a marker of any type for ALL of those unforgotten souls who had been buried there for so many years. I had NEVER seen anything so sad in my entire life .. and suddenly realized that my G/G Grandfather was also a part of this barren scene.
I had purchased a small American Flag prior to my visit to the cemetery .. with intentions of placing it on Grandfather's grave. Still in a state of utter shock .. I managed to find a pen in my purse .. and on the flag I wrote his name, dates of birth & death and his PA Regiment. Fortunately, the wooden stick of the flag was strong enough to penetrate the soil .. and I made sure it was securely in place before departing. I saluted his grave .. and as I drove off, I looked back at that HUGE open field .. and the only thing my eyes focused on were the "Red, White & Blue" colors of a tiny American Flag .. which was the ONLY tangible sign that a now deceased, proud soldier rested on that very site.
My 6 hour trip back home to Boston gave me much time to think about my emotional visit to that cemetery .. and even more convinced that my mission was incomplete. On a whim .. I called the Veteran's Administration the following day simply to inquire about the burial of Veteran's .. and the possibility of obtaining some type of grave marker for a soldier who had served during the Civil War .. and had been buried in an unmarked grave for "91" years. (Quite honestly speaking .. I really did think the V.A. would consider me weird or whatever .. and have a real hearty laugh at my strange request !) On the contrary .. the really neat guy on the other end of the phone (a non-active U.S. Marine .. like myself) was really impressed with the nature of my mission .. and that Grandfather certainly was entitled to a grave marker .. and the time lapse since his death was totally insignificant. He then explained the entire process and reassured me that he would mail all of the required applications to me that very day. He even told me to contact him directly .. should I encounter any problems along the way.
At any rate, my mission was successful .. and with the wonderful assistance and combined efforts of the V.A., the cemetery and that "really neat guy on the other end of the telephone" who truly supported my sentimental gesture from Day #1 .. I can proudly say that Grandfather's grave has been properly marked with an official "Civil War Grave Marker" My uncle (who lives in Philadelphia) notified the local American Legion .. and they have placed Grandfather's name on their cemetery list and will make sure that an American Flag will be placed on his grave every Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran's Day."
Rockledge (Philadelphia), PA
"Well, that's my story. In closing .. a feeling of complete tranquility ran through my entire being on that day back in November 1994 when Grandfather's grave marker was finally in place. After 91 years of waiting for some type of identification .. I'd like to think his marker will also serve as a tangible sign that many, many other forgotten souls are also buried in that open field .. which truly is .. very sacred turf ." -- Helen More
Background Music: "Amazing Grace"
Please select any portion of the following underlined Chapters:
Civil War - Pennsylvania Regiments
The Blue Uniform My Family .. A Call to Arms "Dear Mother" ... 1862 Letter A Proper Burial
Roll of Honor ... Our Fallen Lads The Drummer Boy Medal of Honor - Sgt. Pursell
104th PA Regiment Battle of Fair Oaks 69th PA - Irish Brigade of Philadelphia
72nd PA - Sgt. George Leidy Hess
"The Gettysburg Address"
"Dear Mrs. Bixby" ... 1864 Letter - President Lincoln
From the Halls of Montezuma - U.S. Marine Corps
"Pledge of Allegiance"
My name is ... "Old Glory"
September 11, 2001 .. "Let's roll"
Vietnam .. "The Brotherhood"
Return to Home Base
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