Sons of Union Veterans march in Peninsula parade

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The Sons of

Union Veterans of the Civil War carried their banners high during Peninsula's Memorial Day Parade.

Ten members from Cleveland's James A. Garfield Camp and Akron's General A. C. Voris Camp marched to the beat of the Woodridge High School Band from the village's old school house to Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Leading the Color Guard was Hudson resident Tim Graham, current senior vice-commander of the Ohio Department. Along side, bearing the Stars and Strips, was Jon Silvis, past Ohio department commander.

Following them was the Garfield Camp flag, carried by Camp Commander Peter Hritsko, and the Voris Camp Flag, carried by member Dr. Frederic Marquinez. Both color bearers were flanked by members of Garfield Ohio Naval Brigade, Gage Georgeff and Karl Johnson, dressed as Civil War Marines.

Bringing up the rear were past Voris Camp Commanders Paul Huff and Samuel Elias, as well as Mark Britton, a charter member of the Garfield Camp.

The Civil War Navy was well represented as most of Garfield's members belong to the Ohio Naval Brigade. Just three years old, the unit now has 20 members, among them Kevin Sain, Cuyahoga Falls resident and Commander of the Voris Camp. Last year they marched in Gettysburg's Remembrance Day Parade. Along with crew members of the USS Constellation, they provided the guard for Clevelander Ken Freshley, National Commander-in-Chief of the SUVCW.

Civil War Infantry were portrayed as well. Stow resident Elias was dressed as an officer and Cuyahoga Falls resident Huff as an artillerist. From Hudson, Dr. Marquinez marched in the uniform of a Civil War surgeon.

Peninsula's parade was a natural choice for the groups. The village has one of the two free standing Grand Army of the Republic Halls left in Ohio and Cedar Grove's Civil War monument was donated by Arthur L. Conger in 1889, a Boston Township native who served as a Department Commander for the Ohio Department's G.A.R. in1886. The "Grand Army of the Republic" was the largest Civil War Veterans organization and at one time over 800 G.A.R. posts existed in Ohio.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War traces its roots to the G.A.R. Originally the "Sons of Veterans," they were formed in 1881 with the help of the old veterans. In 1954 they were charted by Congress. Today the Sons consist of men with and without Civil War ancestry. According to Commander Graham, "Our purpose is to make sure the graves of Civil War soldiers are marked, their monuments maintained and their history kept alive."

Cleveland's Garfield Camp was chartered in 1992 inside the library of the Garfield home and now has sixty members. In 2000, The Voris Camp was chartered inside Akron's John Brown Home, and now has 22 members from all over Summit County. The Voris Camp usually meets the first Tuesday of the month at the Cuyahoga Falls Library and visitors are always welcome.

Following the ceremony in Peninsula, the Sons mustered again in Boston Township. Starting at the Cornerstone Family Church, they marched to the Boston Township Cemetery, once again marching to the music of the Woodridge High School Band.

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