Large crowds and impressive services marked the 49th annual Decoration Day services conducted at Port Hope Union Cemetery Sunday afternoon by Durham Lodge No. 78, I.O.O.F. The local lodge, which was augmented by Oddfellows from Cobourg, Bowmanville, Peterboro, Toronto and Buffalo marched to the cemetery, headed by the Cobourg Kilties Band.
Never before had such a crowd been present at the cemetery to pay homage to the loved ones at the "City of the Dead". All day long crowds thronged the cemetery, not only the Union but the Welcome Cemetery as well, to decorate the graves of the deceased. Cars thronged the roadside and were thickly parked in a field east of the cemetery.
Leading the parade to the cemetery was the Cobourg Kiltie Band, followed by the G.W.V.A. and the long stream of Oddfellows following next. Over two hundred joined in the parade and as the brethren wended their way up the hill, they walked the way in life as their deceased brethren had last taken.
Hundreds of people were at the burying grounds to greet the arrival of the brethren. The band played sacred music, which lent much to the occasion and gave it an air of solemnity. Arriving at three o'clock the parade lined up on the pavement in front of the cemetery. The rear members paired off and marched up the centre of the line and through the main portals of the cemetery. The Oddfellows and Veterans formed a large circle and in the centre of which the Band took their places together with the speakers of the day.
Accompanied by the Band, the first number of the beautiful program was the selection "Shall We Gather at the River" and the audience sang the old familiar song with great fervour. Following the prayer offered by Rev. J. Bunner of Bowmanville, a quartet was rendered by Messr. Tapson, Sleeman and Pollard of Bowmanville and Dr. T.W. Stanley with Dr. Stanley presiding at the organ.
Rev. H.D. Cameron, pastor of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church was called upon to deliver the address of the afternoon. In his opening remarks he made mention of the fact that he was pleased to address the Oddfellows and the gathering at their beautiful service and congratulated the Order on the 49th annual celebration of the decorating of the graves.
He was sure theat Coleridge, the great English poet, was an Oddfellow in spirit when he penned the words: "Flowers are lovely, Love is flower-like, Friendship is a sheltering tree, O the joys that come down shower-like, Of Friendship, Love and Liberty."
"In this age of materialism which we are surrounded by," continued the speaker, "we often forget the finer sentiments of life which are expressed this afternoon by the Oddfellows. All of us cherish the sentiments of Friendship, Love and Truth and all add character and give nobility to life. We do not extend enough sympathy in this hard age of materialism and the finer sentiments shown this afternoon, we all rejoice because of them."
"No wonder the sentiments of friendship, love and truth be craved for on account of the long veil of tears before many," went on Mr. Cameron, "and the dark mist of disappointment before us."
The speaker stressed the point that more flowers should be given while we are living, but to decorate the graves of the dead, produces a religious effect and surely everyone was filled with emotional feeling by so doing.
He commended the work the Oddfellows are doing by looking after the sick and afflicted, burying the dead and caring for the widows and orphans.
Following a selection by the band the decoration of the graves of the deceased I.O.O.F. brethren took place. One hundred graves were decorated by receiving a triple link flower design and the following card, "We deposit these flowers on the grave of our departed Brother (Name) in loving memory of his many virtues."
After the decoration, the hymn, "Abide With Me" and the Doxology were sung and the beautiful service was brought to a close by the pronouncement of the benediction by Rev. Bunner.
The graves at Welcome Cemetery were also decorated. Both cemeteries looked wonderful Sunday afternoon with the profusion of flowers, the grass neatly cut, and the Oddfellows are to be congratulated on the success of their service.
The Veterans also decorated a number of graves of their fallen comrades.
At the close of the impressive service the brethren and the band reformed and marched back to the lodge rooms.
The following is a list of the graves decorated by the I.O.O.F.