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May 19. 2013 4:46PM
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Take the time to care for cemetery

As Memorial Day approaches I ask you to remember the Shawnee Cemetery.

I have a great love of this sleepy small town of Plymouth, where into a large families that go back many generations many of us are born.

Our families worked hard to stay here. Many went to war and fought to keep the freedom to come back to Plymouth. We live here and die here, as did those who now rest high on the hill overlooking our town.

The souls of more than 12,000 who now rest at the Shawnee Cemetery are the brave from wars such as the Revolutionary War, Civil and Indian wars, through World War I and World War II and the Vietnam War.

Resting there are also the souls of beloved mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and many children, some taken so young in epidemics.

Many of the graves date back more than 150 years. Time and the elements of nature have taken and continue to take a great toll on the cemetery.

What people thought of as perpetual care disappeared probably more than 50 years ago, and the cemetery has been cared for as best it can be by volunteers.

In spring of 1984, when my husband’s beloved Nana passed away, and as we turned into the Shawnee Cemetery to lay her to rest, the shock of having to leave her there was something I will never forget. The conditions of the cemetery were like nothing I have ever seen. And though we never missed an occasion to place a flower, our family often took weedwackers and a lawn mower to reach her grave. When I took my children or my grandchildren it was not safe to let them out of the car.

In the past few years, we have seen a change. The Shawnee Cemetery preservation association under the leadership of Tom Jesso was started in 2009. A handful of dedicated volunteers have helped maintain roads, cut fallen trees, weed and feed the lawns and repair the memorial stones.

Every week, as they clean and try to restore the land, they find anothergrave that was under the sod, lost for many years.

But this group needs help.

As they go up the hill each day, it is like a man holding his finger to a hole in the dam.a

Please remember the Shawnee Cemetery today. Pass along the word that volunteers are needed. We welcome donations, whether in the form of money, seed, flowersor muscle power.

To volunteer or donate, contact: Tom or Ruth Jesso

P.O. Box 224

Plymouth, PA 18651

Phone 333-4028 or Johanna Lambert at 779-1608.

Thank you for allowing me to share this great need with you.

Johanna Lambert


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