CRANE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Many are taking time to remember and honor loved ones on Memorial Day as a local tradition returns.
Visitors were welcomed back to cemeteries on Naval Support Activity Crane after public access restrictions due to COVID-19, were lifted. For decades on Memorial Day, friends and families have visited gravesites of veterans and some of the area’s first settlers.
Doyle Myers and his family drove nearly two hours to visit and share stories about family members who were alive during the 1800s.
“I think regardless, remembering your past is important. It brings you closer to your family and relatives,” Doyle said.
Hundreds of graves across multiple cemeteries continue to honor early settlers and veterans, some who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Though Doyle never met these relatives, annual visits and stories help keep those memories alive.
“When you come and visit, and study your family history; you do know them personally. You feel like you know them. When you visit where they live, when you visit their grave, you become personally acquainted,”
Traditions Crane has continued over time has been the upkeep of tombstones and placing flags on the graves of fallen soldiers during certain holidays.
Trent Osmon, N.S.A. Crane Installation Environmental Program Director, said it was a priority to safely allow families back on gravesites.
“It’s their loved one, they want to go in and have that experience. Memorial Day just adds that extra special little piece to the situation,” Osmon said. “It was tough telling people they couldn’t come due to COVID-19 last year,”
Raechel Myers says her first site visit has been life changing.
“Getting to see my ancestors, where they came from and where lived makes it easier to keep going and to really do hard things. Their lives were harder then mine,” Myers added.
Only one cemetery on this entire site remains active with few plots available.