GUILFORD — R. Walter Bishop, of the Bishop’s Orchard family, served in World War I, Co. G., 328th Infantry, in France. Bishop was gassed in the Argonne Forest and received the purple heart.
Bishop, along with other Guilford veterans, will be honored during a wreath-laying ceremony in December. Over 1,100 veterans are buried in the seven local cemeteries, including Alder Brook, Bluff Head, Leete’s Island, North Guilford, Nut Plains, St. George and West Side.
After the war, Bishop, deeply interested in world security and peace, developed a plan for world security calling for a League of Nations, which was reviewed by Albert Einstein and dignitaries. He is buried in Alder Brook Cemetery.
The public is invited to attend the second annual Ethan Miller Song Wreaths Across Guilford ceremony Saturday, Dec. 21, beginning at 2 p.m. at Alder Brook Cemetery, 409 Boston St., Guilford.
Following the ceremony, volunteers will distribute wreaths throughout the seven cemeteries.
A fundraising campaign is ongoing to raise funds to purchase the wreaths. To make a donation, contact Steve Spurrell, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-627-4404.
The idea originated with Kristin Song, who said that after the accidental shooting death of her son, Ethan, on Jan. 31, 2018, she realized that his dream of participating in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery would never happen.
Talking about the upcoming event, Song recalled a discussion with her son, at breakfast the day he died, about his desire to enter the military.
Tracy Tomaselli, a local genealogist, explained that placing the wreath on the gravestone follows a specific protocol.
“When you place a wreath on one of these gravestones, you read the veteran’s name out loud, you thank them for their service and sacrifice and you reflect on their life,” she explained. “You read the stone, you see what service they were in, what years they served and you reflect on what war they might have participated in.”
The ceremony will include the Edward A. Norton Post 7666, Veterans of Foreign War firing squad and the Darrow-Rebezzini Post 48, American Legion color guard.
Seven wreaths will be on display at the entrance to the cemetery, recognizing each arm of the service, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Merchant Marines and Coast Guard, in addition to current Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.
Song hopes the program will grow each year. In addition to honoring those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, she also wants living veterans to know how much they are appreciated.