News Flash Home
The original item was published from 5/25/2023 4:00:46 PM to 6/3/2023 12:00:01 AM.

News Flash

News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: May 27, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Greenburgh Slice of History

Honoring Those who Gave All: Memorial Day in Greenburgh



Honoring Those who Gave All: Memorial Day in Greenburgh:

By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber


Shape, circle</p><p>Description automatically generated




“He left a boy, came back a man, still many just don't understand.

About the reasons we are free

I can't forget the look in his eyes, or the tears he cried.

As he said these words to me

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Some stood through for the red, white and blue

And some had to fall

And if you ever think of me

Think of all your liberties and recall, some gave all.”  Some Gave All (1992) Billy Ray Cyrus



“All gave some, Some gave all.” What powerful words. Memorial Day is the day we honor all those killed in action while serving in our country’s armed forces. It was first observed on May 30th 1868, on the order of General John Alexander Logan(MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation) as a way to honor fallen Union soldiers. It was then called, “Decoration Day,” because these soldiers were honored by decorating their graves with American flags (MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation). On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union soldiers.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873 and by 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. However, the South was still resentful that they had lost the war, and they therefore refused to honor the dead of their former adversaries. Southern States did not celebrate the day until after WWI, when the holiday was changed to honor fallen heroes of all wars, not just the Civil War ( Decoration Day gradually became known as “Memorial Day” after this transition from honoring merely Union Soldiers to those killed in all wars occurred ( It continued to be celebrated on May 30th until 1971, when with the passage of the National Holiday Act, it became observed annually on the last Monday of May(



So Memorial Day has been celebrated in Greenburgh for a long time. But, how, if at all, have these celebrations changed over the years?


Celebrations of the WWI Era:


On May 30th 1916, The G.A.R. (short for Grand Army of the Republic- an organization honoring Union Veterans of the Civil War, previously led by General John Alexander Logan in 1868) now under the command of General Arthur Humphreys, held a Memorial Day Ceremony at the cemetery of the Beekman Avenue Methodist Church. At this ceremony he gave the following speech,


“These brave boys have finished marching, now they are resting one by one. While a grateful Nation’s blessings join to say ‘Grand men, well done” (Tarrytown Daily News May 23rd 1916, p.5).


A picture containing text</p><p>Description automatically generated


Humphreys continued to lead the G.A.R when they held another Memorial Day Service held on May 30th 1918, the only real difference between these services was that it was held at a different church in 1918 (Tarrytown Daily News May 23rd 1918 p. 1).


Text</p><p>Description automatically generated


Celebrations of the Depression Era:


On Saturday May 28th 1927, the Tarrytown Daily News reported that a monument would be unveiled on Monday May 30th honoring those Tarrytown boys and men  killed during World War I (Tarrytown Daily News May  28th 1927, p.1).


See article below:


Text, letter</p><p>Description automatically generated


While that is all that the Tarrytown Daily News reported, luckily, we have a very detailed account of this ceremony from Former Greenburgh Town Historian Edgar Mayhew Bacon in his report entitled, Tarrytown During the World War, which he began writing in 1922 and continued writing until 1930, but for some reason never published. Mr. Bacon discussed how on May 30th 1927, Memorial Day, a special ceremony was held. This ceremony was to honor Tarrytown men who had lost their lives during WWI. At this ceremony: “America” was sung, a prayer was said by Reverend Charles M. Dixon, wreaths were laid, and Taps was played. These things are common to Memorial Day celebrations even today. But what separates this one from subsequent Memorial Day celebrations is that a monument was unveiled commemorating all those Tarrytown residents who died serving during World War One. This monument was a bronze statue depicting an American Soldier, with his helmet off, and head bowed, looking down at a cross at his feet. (Report by Former Greenburgh Town Historian Edgar Mayhew Bacon June 4 1927).


Perhaps brought on by the Great Depression and the resulting unhappiness with this country as a result of that event, the 1930s saw a decline in patriotic fervor  and with it a decline in Memorial Day observance. This state of affairs was loudly bemoaned by the Tarrytown Daily News in 1931.


See article below:


Text</p><p>Description automatically generated


America as a nation is resilient however, and so we survived the Depression, the Second World War which came after it and the tragedy of 9/11/2001. One good thing that has come out of WWI and 9/11 is a restored since of patriotism.




In conclusion, Memorial Day has been celebrated in Greenburgh for a long time. In the beginning, in 1868 it was marked by decorating the graves of fallen Union soldiers, in 1927, a monument to fallen heroes of WWI was unveiled. Today when people think of Memorial Day they think of parades. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how we honor our fallen heroes, only that we always remember to honor them.





Previous Slices of History include:


































































































About the Authors:


We are both Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.


Riley Wentzler:

I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at historian@greenburghny.comor to help me find employment, you can contact me at


Felicia Barber:

I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at historian@greenburghny.comTo learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at



Two Interviews with the authors:



Bacon, E. M. (1922). Tarrytown During the World War. Tarrytown, NY: Unpublished


Cyrus, B. R. (1989). Some Gave All [Recorded by B. R. Cyrus]. Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America .


Mathison, J.,. ((NOT GIVEN), May 25). The Meaning of Memorial Day. Retrieved from John Ed


Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington, United States of America


Tarrytown Daily News May 23, 1916, p.5


Tarrytown Daily News May 23, 1918 p. 1


Tarrytown Daily News May 16, 1931, p. 8


Unknown. (2019, May 27). Memorial Day. Retrieved from A Better Greenburgh:

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

What to do if you see a lanternfly?

Posted on: August 3, 2023

Get Help to Find/Pay for Child Care

Posted on: July 19, 2023