It happens quietly, almost overnight you will see the holiday decorations emerge on gravesites throughout cemeteries across the area. An unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon last week found several families cleaning and placing small decorations onto gravesites at Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth. Battery operated lighted trees, wreaths and greenery glisten throughout the 40-acre site providing a respectful way to both mourn and to honor the departed.
During the coming weeks, families will gather at the graves of the loved ones who will not open presents or share Christmas dinner. They will join together sharing stories and wonderful memories of times past and they will find visits to the cemetery comforting during an emotional time.
On Sunday, December 10th, from 1 to 4 p.m., The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation will host “Christmas at the Historic Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel.” The event, which is free to the public, will provide an opportunity to view the interior of the seasonally decorated chapel and to light a memorial candle for a lost loved one.
Board Members Melissa Appleton and Barb Davis will be decorating the chapel with live greens and candle lanterns. “The chapel was constructed in 1884 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so opening it to the public at Christmas will hopefully become an annual event,” according to Debbie Gambill, Board President.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to hang a personalized wooden Angel ornament onto a lighted Christmas tree. It is not necessary for loved ones to be buried in Greenlawn to personalize an Angel ornament. The Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery Foundation will have refreshments available. “This is a small way we can give back to the community that has embraced our mission of restoring and preserving Greenlawn Cemetery. We want people to visit the cemetery in every season and to see the beauty in the brick streets and the monuments,” said Gambill.
Volunteers will also be available to assist individuals in decorating gravesites of loved ones and fresh greens will be available for purchase if necessary. “We encourage local residents to stop by and have a cup of hot chocolate with their neighbors, listen to the choirs, hang a memorial ornament, light a candle and view the chapel,” added Gambill.
What a great way to bring families together in remembering lost loved ones and starting a new kind of tradition that does not require money or special effects.
Reach: Kimbery Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928
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