Democrat Photo by Dan Hust
GRAHAMSVILLE BOY SCOUTS Thomas Riordan, Logan Ackerley and Patrol Leader Weston Curry, below, lower a flag flying at the Grahamsville Rural Cemetery in memory of Art TerBush.
A Special Day in Grahamsville
By Dan Hust
GRAHAMSVILLE November 17, 2006 For a Veterans’ Day event, Grahamsville’s version was wrought with an unusually wide array of emotions.
Neighbors, friends and family shook hands, gave hugs and exchanged warm smiles while greeting one another that Saturday morning.
The cloudless sky made even the gray headstones of the Grahamsville Rural Cemetery gleam cheerfully in the autumn sun, while local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts joined veterans in uniform to lend a dignified air to the proceedings.
John Bernstein’s trumpeted rendition of “Taps” mournfully sounded amidst faraway tombstones brought a tear to several eyes.
Relatives of now-gone veterans shared a mixture of pride and sadness as they watched flags raised and lowered in honor of familiar names like Art TerBush and Douglas and Stephen Hill.
And native son Miles Ellison contributed his famous booming delivery in a speech that reflected all that the crowd of nearly 100 was feeling that day.
“It is a saga in celebration of community,” he remarked in a tone needing no microphone. “This is a community that not only exalts and survives, but excels.”
With that, the American flag flown at the cemetery’s flagpole since Memorial Day in honor of the late veteran and Grahamsville native Art TerBush was lowered by the Scouts, who carefully folded it and presented it to the TerBush family.
Then the ceremony that was conducted for TerBush in May was repeated, this time for the family of Douglas and Stephen Hill.
Douglas, a Woodbourne native, served in the Army during World War II, preparing meals for fellow soldiers in Atlantic City and overseas. He returned to his hometown as a carpenter after the war and taught his talents to inmates at Woodbourne Correctional Facility.
One of his children, Stephen, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force during Vietnam, conducting secret missions for the Strategic Air Command in southeast Asia as part of the Grey Ghost Division.
Steve returned home to raise a family in Neversink and eventually became a corrections officer at Woodbourne.
Both father and son were heavily involved in area fire departments, and that was evidenced by the presence of a Grahamsville fire truck during Saturday’s ceremony.
“Without the courage and dedication of men like my father and brother to serve our country,” said Donna Hill Conklin of Grahamsville, “we wouldn’t have this great nation to live in. Our love and gratitude go with them.”
Indeed, as the new flag caught a gentle breeze high above the salutes and speeches, one could see that Conklin spoke for an entire community.