OSSIAN – New headstones were planted at the graves of three local patriots who served in the Civil War. In a moving ceremony on October 18 at Wood Cemetery in Ossian, the beautifully crafted stones were officially dedicated to these three men, who never saw the end of the bloodiest war in American history.
The brothers, Edwin Luce, Worthington Luce, and William Allen Luce, all received new headstones courtesy of a Veteran’s Affairs program, which were installed thanks to a Facebook fundraising page launched by family member Karen Vitale. Vitale says that a fourth brother also served, but he did not require a new headstone.
“The ceremony was beautiful,” said Karen Vitale. “It was a touching ceremony, and we all felt that it brought us together as a family.”
Nearly 40 people came out to join the ceremony on the gray, drizzly afternoon, including New York State Assemblyman Bill Nojay’s chief of staff, and US Congressman Chris Collins’ field representative.
Vitale said that her cousin, Fred Miner, provided the opening invocation for the ceremony, and that she read quotes from Edwin Luce’s letters he sent home after being wounded at Gettysburg.
Vitale said that it was the American Legion and VFW that provided a color guard, gun salute and taps. Civil War reenactors in full ‘garb,’ or costume, also provided a gun salute, led by Tim and Jon Bucknam. Jon, a vet himself, read a poem from the NYS 1st Dragoons, which is the same regiment that William Allen Luce was in.
The headstones can now be visited anytime at the cemetery on Ossian Hill Road in Ossian.
You can check out the Luce family’s genealogical research, vintage photos, journal entries and family memories by requesting to join the Luce Family Tree Facebook page, which made the headstone update possible.
PHOTO CAPTION: Image courtesy of Nancy May.