FREEMONT, Ohio –
A clear sky and warm, autumn sun provided the ideal backdrop to honor the 19th president of the United States during a ceremony in Fremont, Ohio, October 8.
Rutherford B. Hayes was laid to rest in this northwest Ohio town in 1893. Prior to that, he served the nation in public service roles ranging from city solicitor to major general and ultimately president. To honor his service, a wreath was placed at the tomb he shares with his wife, Lucy, on the 195th anniversary of his birth on behalf of the President of the United States Donald J. Trump.
“True legacy lies in sharing what you have learned. Passionately immersing yourself into life so that your accomplishments long outlive your time on earth,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Strand, who was representing President Donald J. Trump and placed a wreath at the tomb of Hayes and his wife, Lucy, and serves as the deputy chief of engineers (Reserve affairs). “As such, President Hayes left a true legacy.”
That legacy includes a large family and an even larger service ledger. In 1858, Hayes was elected as the city solicitor for Cincinnati, Ohio. He served in that position until he volunteered for service in the Civil War with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry where rose to the rank of major general, despite being injured multiple times. During his time in uniform, Hayes was elected to serve Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District, a post he refused to take until the war was over.
Hayes served the 2nd district for two terms and was then elected to serve as governor of Ohio for two terms as well. When Hayes was called upon to serve once more as president, he vowed that it would only be for one term. And it was, from 1877 to 1881.
“Throughout his years of war, political service and presidency, Hayes remained honest, optimistic and decisive,” Strand said. “He knew the power of compromise and worked tirelessly for fairness and equality for all of our country’s citizens.”
Honoring past presidents is an honor that continues each year. Family members from each president often attend and participate, as well. A descendent of President Hayes, John Hayes, attended this ceremony and placed a wreath at the tomb beside the one placed by Strand.
“It’s important to keep the legacy of what his son did in creating this library and museum for the public to house his presidential papers,” he said. “It’s a living history. It’s an honor to be part of this ceremony and part of this family.”