Significant Camden Memorial Day tribute honors African American vets from Civil War

Memorial Day saw many across the Delaware Valley pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"We’re here on what I call holy ground and I’m grateful to be here," stated Reverend Floyd White.

Butler Cemetery, an historic site tucked away in Camden for African American veterans who fought for their freedom during the Civil War. A small, but very special Memorial Day ceremony held Monday evening to honor them.

"They weren’t even members of society – slaves – but, they fought on both sides, the Union and the Confederate. I just think it’s important to raise the level of awareness about those who served and served faithfully,, years ago," Rev. White commented.

Tom Pagano, of Cherry Hill, attends this particular Memorial Day observance because it’s different.

"One of the reasons it is different is the ground we’re standing on," Pagano explained. "And, that makes it special, for me, anyway, and for a lot of people, I think."

Pagano lost his stepson, Captain Gregory Dalessio. He and his wife actually look at Memorial Day as a day of celebration and gratitude.

"Grateful we had my son for 30 years, grateful for what he taught us. So, today we don’t particularly remember how he died, we remember how he lived," Pagano added.

Pastor Patience Rivers, of Centerville Outreach Ministries, offering a prayer to those who paid the ultimate price.

"On behalf of this blessed event and the memory of our fallen soldiers," Pastor Rivers said.

Rivers remarking on her own father’s service in World War II.

"He was part of the ground crew of the Tuskegee Airmen and I’m very proud of that," Pastor Rivers described.

Eugene Wise served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1973 through 1993 and wanted to pay his respects to his fallen comrades.

"Some went and didn’t come back and I thank God I’m one of the ones who did my 20 years and came back," Wise remarked.

The tribute is in its third year, but those gathered plan to make it a Memorial Day tradition for many years to come.



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