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NEWS | Nov. 26, 2018

President Garfield revered and remembered

By Sgt. Rachel Grothe 88th Readiness Division

Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Reinert served as the official representative for President Donald J. Trump during the wreath laying ceremony in Cleveland Heights on November 17, 2018, honoring the life and accomplishments of President James A. Garfield, born 187 years ago. 

“Let us always remember President Garfield through his work and his words,” said Reinert, under the shadow of the impressive sculpture of President Garfield. “I am privileged to place this wreath in honor of a life lived strong and true, James A. Garfield – teacher, congressman, Soldier, patriot and president.”

The people of Ohio remember the hardworking self-made man that was selected for the presidential nomination during the 1880 Republican national convention on the 36th round of voting, after unsuccessfully campaigning for John Sherman. He was elected on merit, not rhetoric, nor a televised popularity contest. 

“It’s ironic that he was assassinated because he was doing a job that he really didn’t want. Before he took office he asked his wife, Lucretia, if he should. His wife told him, if you’re called to serve, then you should serve,” said Katharine Goss, president and CEO of the Lake View Cemetery association, where President Cleveland and his family are interred.

He served just 120 days before being shot, on the 121st day of his presidency, and died 79 days after, of infection.

His time in office, though short, was productive, he worked to end the reconstruction period in the south, and advocated for the suffrage of black men. He advocated literacy for all Americans with public education. His legacy of the American dream is not forgotten. 

“He is proof of what a person can do with education and hard work,” said Dan Garfield, great-great-grandson of the president. “We want to celebrate his accomplishments, but they are not ours, we all have to work at our own accomplishments.”

Something young boy scouts from troop 179 attending the ceremony are just beginning to learn as they look around in audible awe of the president’s intricately detailed monument.

“I can remember seeing this as a child. It’s an amazing place,” said Tim Garfield, great-great-grandson, of the president, before the ceremony, where he and Gen. Reinert placed a wreath in front of the statue, one level above the President’s casket.

The children at the ceremony celebrating the life of the last president born in a log cabin ensure the American people remember where steadfast hard-work, resourcefulness, and studious efforts in their learning, and ethical service can take them for generations to come.