Sunday Memorial Day Ceremony in Churchville To Honor Native Son

World War I Dough Boy tombstone for Russell Snyder, located in Green Hill Cemetery, Churchville, Virginia. Born Aug 30, 1892, died Oct 8, 1918. Pvt, 11 Co CAC, Fort Mott, Salem, NJ. The statue is extremely detailed and must have cost a great deal of money. Here is a better photo of the dough boy tombstone.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Will Bear in Churchville with an invitation to the Memorial Day observance on Sunday, May 28,  at Green Hill Cemetery. It is a local commemoration that is open to the public, and is a reminder of why we remember all fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

A casualty of World War II, Winfield Liggett is buried in France but a headstone in Churchville is a reminder of this native son.

This year will feature a local family’s contribution to the world’s largest amphibious military operation to liberate World War II France. Winfield Liggett III was assigned to what would often be the lead company (of the lead battalion of the lead regiment) of the 29th Division offensive operations. Wounded in the Normandy invasions, he returned to France and later died in the intense fight for the port city of Brest.

Jimmy Kilbourne,  Executive Director of Staunton’s Stonewall Brigade 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation and Museum, has compiled his research about this Virginian to reveal the fascinating story of sacrifice for freedom.

The cemetery is in a beautiful setting overlooking he Appalachian Mountains on the outer edges of Churchville in western Augusta County. Will’s family has owned Bear Funeral Home for generations. Will, along with the late Mrs. Charlotte Young, often organized the Memorial Day commemoration including this one I attended four years ago (see Shenandoah Valley: Churchville Ceremony Honors America’s Fallen Soldiers).

Sunday’s event will take place on May 28, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. at Green Hill Cemetery just outside Churchville. All are welcome.

Following are photos from the 2014 Churchville Memorial Day ceremony. Both Mrs. Young and Mr. Bear, Will’s dad, have passed away since then but Will is carrying on the tradition.


 It was a peaceful setting with the Appalachian Mountains of western Augusta County in the background as a warm breeze blew on the bright sunny day.


 Will Bear and Charlotte Young.
Mrs. Young and the Churchville Christian ladies hosted the event each year. Since disbanding, Mrs. Young has carried on with the help of Will who carried out her vision of the event, and presided over the ceremony.





Mr. Will Bear and Mrs. Charlotte Young.


Rev. Reed Hopkins, pastor of Loch Willow Presbyterian Church in Churchville, led with devotions and prayer.
Bugler Billy Brooks, Esq, of Washington, D.C. … the National Anthem.
Churchville resident Enrique Mencia may have been born in Cuba but he appreciates the
freedom offered in his adopted country and the small Virginia town where
he lives. On Sunday, he shared the restrictive government history of
Cuba, honoring Armed Forces members who died
protecting the freedom enjoyed by Mr. Mencia and other Americans.He took time to tell of Cubans’ quest for
freedom and the sacrifices made by many throughout the years, including
Americans, to stand up for Cuban citizens. When Cuba was overtaken by Fidel Castro in 1959, the first mandate
was the absolute surrender of all privately owned firearms which essentially left residents helpless. It was a reminder that we have much to be grateful for in this country. His remarks are below.
The Fifth Virginia Infantry, Company L, West Augusta Guard of Staunton.











Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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