The Friends of Maple Grove and the Richmond / Madison County NAACP host their first-ever Veterans Day commemoration and celebration at Maple Grove Cemetery in Richmond.
According to Judy Greene-Baker, an Army Reserves veteran and a member of the Friends of Maple Grove and the NAACP, the event will honor a Buffalo soldier and an airman from Tuskegee with a wreath laying ceremony and the dedication of a service flag.
âIt’s been a work in progress for about a year,â explained Greene-Baker.
Work began in the spring when the Friends of Maple Grove, a nonprofit that maintains the cemetery, got together to determine what events they could organize to raise awareness in the community about its upkeep.
Once the idea was launched, things started to fall into place.
First, Greene-Baker said he heard of a local family named Huguley who had their own reunion to celebrate his family’s veterans and wanted to donate military service flags to Maple Cemetery. Grove.
âThey called and asked if we would allow them to donate the flags to the cemetery, and I said it would be wonderful to have them,â Baker said. “So we will be signing these flags on Veterans Day.”
According to Greene-Baker, each branch of the military will have its service tune played as the flags are placed.
In addition to the gift of flags, Greene-Baker was also pleasantly surprised when she received a call from the Madison County Historical Society that a Buffalo soldier was buried in Maple Grove named Private Robert Ballard.
In addition to Ballard, Tuskegee aviators Frank D. Walker – the namesake of the street where Maple Grove is located – will be honored with a wreath laying ceremony.
âIt all came together – Private Buffalo, Aviator Tuskegee and the flag dedication,â Greene-Baker said. “We have a lot of good things planned and it will be a great opportunity.”
The event will also include a partnership with Madison Central High School ROTC which will allow nine cadets to perform the wreath laying. Mike Boyd of the Madison County Veterans Honor Guard will also perform “TAPS”.
The event is scheduled to take place Thursday, November 11 at 1:30 p.m. at Maple Grove Cemetery in Richmond. The event is rain or shine and should last approximately 40 minutes. Greene-Baker advises those who do not wish to be on their feet all the time to bring their own lawn chairs.
âWe’re thrilled and hope everyone in the community comes out. We would like to thank all of the organizations, individuals and citizens of Richmond and Madison County who have come together to make this celebration and commemoration an event that the city can be proud of, and I believe it will be â , she said. “