It’s the perfect ending to a Memorial Day parade. This year, at the finish of the parade on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th, the Cranford Historical Society will be honoring Cranford’s Civil War veterans by dedicating a new monument in Memorial Park, on Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The dedication coincides with the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, an observance which began in 2011 and runs until 2015.
On October 27, 2009, the Cranford Historical Society was designated as the lead organization for commemorating that defining period of American history. Founded in 1927, the Cranford Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate the history of Cranford. The Society has been sponsoring programs throughout the war’s anniversary to broaden public awareness of the transformative events leading to the conclusion of that great struggle. The Civil War monument’s installation, and the availability of the accompanying dedication pamphlet, are the culmination of over ten years of research and fundraising by the Cranford Historical Society’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. It was supported by a Union County History Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Steven D. Glazer, Chairperson of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee of the Cranford Historical Society, has worked tirelessly for the past decade, studying and writing about Cranford’s place in the Civil War. He is the author of Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage, and a key contributor to New Jersey Goes to War and New Jersey’s Civil War Odyssey, official publications of the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association’s Sesquicentennial Committee.
The Historical Society’s created this new memorial stone to stand as a reminder to continuing Cranford generations of the contributions, sacrifices, and history-shaping actions made by town residents of the past. About eighty people who fought during the Civil War lived in the area prior to, or immediately after, the Civil War. Many Civil War veterans also held key positions in early Cranford, including the role of mayor, township committee members, and town justice. Many Civil War veterans developed or farmed the land in Cranford, while others established churches in the community. Quite a few Cranford residents took part in major battles during the Civil War, and some are even reported to have had direct connections with President Abraham Lincoln, for whom Cranford’s Lincoln Avenue was named, including two residents who were reported to be present in Ford’s Theatre the night the president was fatally shot. Another Cranfordian reportedly assisted in thwarting the first assassination plot against President-elect Lincoln as he made his way to his first inauguration in Washington. More fascinating information is available if you contact the Historical Society’s office at 908-276-0082 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.cranfordhistoricalsociety.com
If you plan to be at the Memorial Day parade, before you head home to fire up the grill for those burgers and dogs, take a few moments to enjoy this dedication. And to think about what our Cranford ancestors did to help maintain this country. And to remember why we celebrate the day in the first place. And to admire the Civil War monument, think a bit, and say a quiet thank you to those who allowed you to be here.