Memorial Day for the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization is the top national holiday of the year. This is a weekend that Americans need to get out in our nation’s cemeteries and honor and pray for our ancestors.

It is an opportunity to show our children and grandchildren where their family members are buried.

We should be cleaning up the sacred and historic gravesites and placing flowers and American historical flags at the graves.

Americans of today need and must know our nation’s great and glorious history and heritage for future generations.

We must promote a great love and patriotism of the history of our wonderful nation the United States of America. This has always been one of the great missions of the CHCO since 1983.

During the past month, our wonderful volunteer members have been busy mowing grass in our adopted cemeteries in Allegany County and nearby West Virginia.

We now have more than 900 designed and protected gravesites.

These are gravesites which we have restored and erected monuments.

Our corporate seal and name are engraved on these monuments. These monuments are owned by the CHCO.

The monuments are engraved with the history of the person buried at the site.

The monuments are placed on the graves that cover our nation’s history from the American Revolution to current day. They are located in cemeteries from near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, to Micanopy, Florida.

Our members have decorated all of these sites with flowers, wreathes and American historical flags. Some of these members are our first vice president, Chester Dale Burgess; James Ali; David Burcaw; Malinda Newhouse; Christina Taylor and Dennis Bittinger.

This year we will honor the Holy deceased with two events, both on May 24. First at noon we will pray the holy rosary for the deceased at the Shrine of the Pieta located at the top of the hill in SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery, Fayette Street, Cumberland.

The rosary will be lead by board member Mary Ann Eckard. At 2 p.m. we will hold our annual Memorial Day service at Allegany County’s first black cemetery, Sumner Cemetery, located on Yale Street, Cumberland.

In 1990 the CHCO became affilated with the cemetery and in 1991 built Maryland’s first major monument to six black Union Civil War soldiers.

Every year since then we have held our Memorial Day event at this location. Sumner is a very unique historic cemetery.

I would like to mention several wonderful ladies who have help make the Memorial Day service a great event: Christine Peck, Jacqueline Cooper, Bonnie and Tawnia Austin and Susan Jones.

In closing, the CHCO takes our hats off to the wonderful volunteer cemetery workers at Greenmount Cemetery located on Cumberland’s East Side. The cemetery has not been in this great condition in many years.

We hope all families get out and visit our local sacred and historic sites, America’s cemeteries. For more information call 301-722-4624 or visit

Edward W. Taylor Jr., president

Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization Inc.

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